The following is written by the fabulous Sue Guynn and it appeared in this week’s edition of 72 Hours. Enjoy!
Cole Swindell remembers the first time he played a concert in Frederick. It was the Fourth of July and he vividly remembers watching the fireworks through the back window of his bus.
“Back then, we only had one bus,” Swindell said in a recent phone interview from Fredericksburg, Virginia.
A lot has changed for Swindell since that visit in 2014, including the number of buses he tours with. “Now we have three,” he said.
Those buses will be rolling into Frederick on Sept. 17, as Swindell headlines the grandstand stage entertainment at The Great Frederick Fair. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $48 reserved grandstand seating and $53 general admission track, standing room only.
Back in 2014, he also had only one No. 1 single, “Chillin’ It.” Since then, the singer-songwriter has been on a No. 1 roll with seven consecutive singles to top the charts at No. 1, and he received a second CMA Triple Play Award for penning three No. 1 songs within a 12-month period: “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” “Let Me See Ya Girl” and “You Should Be Here.”
Not bad for a guy who never picked up a guitar or sang a song until he was college-bound.
“The past four years have been the best of my life,” Swindell said. “Between awards and No. 1 songs, I’ve been extremely fortunate.”
Born in Savannah, Georgia, Swindell’s family moved to tiny Bronwood, Georgia, when he was a kid. How tiny was the town? His high school graduating class had 23 people. “It’s the small town you hear about in a country song,” he said.
As a kid, he listened to a lot of country music with his granddad, but never sang in church, the school choir, anywhere, until the summer before college when he would get with friends who played their guitars while he sang. He got a lot of compliments on his singing and that got him to thinking that maybe he could be a country artist.
He headed off to Georgia Southern University but it wasn’t long before he left college for Nashville. He took a job selling merchandise at Luke Bryan concerts for three years. “It allowed me to see what the business is like, how you should treat your crew, your band, they’re like family,” Swindell said. “Now I’m up on stage with someone selling my merchandise!” he said. His first concert tour was with Luke Bryan.
He’s also toured with Jason Aldean, been on Kenny Chesney’s stadium tour, with Florida Georgia Line and just finished touring with Dierks Bentley’s What The Hell World Tour.
“I can’t pick four bigger tours be on,” Swindell said. “All those guys helped me.”
Last month, Swindell released “Stay Downtown,” the fourth single from his second album (“You Should Be Here”). The song is not one he wrote, but “I knew the first time I heard it I had to have it,” he said.
“I take a lot of pride in my live shows,” Swindell said. “There’s a lot of energy. One of the biggest compliments I get on social media after shows is ‘you can tell you love what you do.’ Fans have your back.”