Interview: Cole Swindell’s Down Home Tour, EP Are ‘for the Fans’
Cole Swindell has toured with some of the biggest and best artists in country music -- most recently, he wrapped up his run with Florida Georgia Line, on their Dig Your Roots Tour -- but he's not finished learning from those other acts. Swindell is gearing up to hit the road with Dierks Bentley in 2017, for Bentley's What the Hell World Tour, but first, he's headlining his own Down Home Tour, playing clubs and intimate venues.
"This Down Home Tour is for the fans," Swindell recently told The Boot and other reporters of his new trek, which began on Wednesday (Oct. 26). "It’s smaller venues. I’ve been playing some of the biggest venues in the country, out with FGL, and [I wanted] to go back and get up close and personal with the people that allow me to have a job, allow me to put out music."
The Down Home Tour coincides with the release of Swindell's third Down Home Sessions EP, which is the singer's way of sharing even more music with his loyal fans.
"Some EPs have a theme -- some of them are a different side of an artist, maybe -- but for me, so far, it's just been songs that I wish I could have put on my albums," Swindell shares. "I think all of the Sessions, the first two so far have had great songs on it, [but] it was just the timing. I can’t fit but so many on the album."
Swindell's Down Home Sessions III EP, released on Friday (Oct. 28), comes only a few months after the release of his sophomore album, You Should Be Here. While the 33-year-old admits that the timing of the new EP might be "weird," he wasn't about to give up on the tradition.
"I didn’t want to end something that we had started," Swindell explains. "I want to do this for a long time; I want people to be saying, ‘What is he doing still playing in clubs?’ That’s just what we envision. And for us to take a year off on the new music wouldn’t be right, especially when I have the songs."
Swindell is keeping his Down Home projects so focused on his fans, in fact, that he even included a song on the new EP that was a special request from a loyal supporter.
"There’s [one song] in particular called "Chevrolet DJ" that some fan found on YouTube a couple years ago, and it’s been blowing up ever since," Swindell notes. "It’s never been on an album. So I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we go back and take some of these songs that were written a while back, and since it’s for the fans, they picked it; that’s their pick ... and we're going to keep doing that. I always want to release the best music that I can, and I hope this has got a little mixture of fun and some love in there."
Cole Taylor, Travis Denning and Jon Langston will join Swindell for his Down Home Tour, during which Swindell will put some of what he's observed opening for other artists into practice.
"[I’ve learned] how it all works -- mostly, how to treat people on tour," Swindell concedes. "I’ve always wanted to treat people the way I want to be treated ... That’s making sure your openers have stuff that they need, food, just everything. We need to take care of people that are out there busting their butts trying to make it; that’s what everyone’s done for me. They’ve always treated me like I’ve been around forever, and I haven’t. That means the world to me.
"I just think you’re crazy if you’ve had the opportunities I’ve had and you don’t take the chance to learn, because I wouldn’t be where I am without all these tours," he adds. "The fact that I have the chance to learn from the names I’ve been on tour with, I don’t think you can ask for any more than that."
After his Down Home Tour, Swindell will have a brief rest over the holidays, before joining Bentley when his tour kicks off in January. For Swindell, who paid his dues in college by performing the Bentley's songs in bars, the chance to learn from his own musical hero was too good to pass up.
"It was amazing to finally get to meet him and realize he’s just as good of a guy as he is an artist and songwriter," Swindell says. "People like that are who we can look up to and learn from, because he’s been around a lot longer than I have, and he has one of the best reputations I’ve ever heard of in this town, and that’s because he’s a good guy, too."
Even with little time off, Swindell isn't about to complain about his rigorous schedule.
"It’s cool to get to the end of the year," he reflects. "Some people are kind of winding down, and us, we’re just getting started with our own deal, headlining tour with new music for the past three years now. That’s all I want to do, play music and take it to the fans."
A list of all of Swindell's upcoming shows is available on his website.
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