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Album Spotlight: Cole Swindell, ‘Cole Swindell’

Cole Swindell Album
Warner Music Nashville

Cole Swindell set out to make a well-rounded album that tells his story, and he succeeded. The 12 tracks on ‘Cole Swindell’ tread along familiar country themes, but don’t run ruts into any one in particular. It’s surprisingly easy to find yourself halfway through the album a second time without noticing.

Nothing feels forced. The stories and melodies from this south Georgia-raised singer — who hails from Luke Bryan’s school of country music — come naturally. He’s also identified as part of the group that runs with Florida Georgia Line, but sonicall,y he couldn’t be more different. Swindell’s loudest party anthems come across as fun, humble invitations. ‘Brought to You by Beer’ is the rowdiest example, but ‘Get Up’ packs a more memorable lyric:

“I got a spot for your tan legs / Around my red neck / Where you can outshine that big spot light,” Swindell sings to a country cutie.

Clever metaphors work their way into other songs as well, adding a dash of cayenne to what would be an otherwise vanilla (but still tasty) concept. “Movin’ your hips like the wind moves cotton,” he sings during ‘Let Me See Ya Girl.’

Done got tipsy like a Tilt-a-Whirl,” he says during ‘Hey Y’all,’ the rocking party song that opens ‘Cole Swindell.’ These songs and lyrics capture the essence of the album.

However, they don’t tell the whole story. ‘Dozen Roses + Six-Pack’ finds Swindell producing a genuine country melody. Vocally, it’s his strongest effort if only because it’s the most surprising.

“I got a dozen roses if she comes back home / And a six-pack if she don’t,” he sings to end a very traditional, very satisfying chorus.

The final three tracks (‘Dozen Roses …,’ ‘Down Home Boys’ and ‘Back Roads and the Back Row’) do the best job of telling Swindell’s story; the closer is perhaps the best song of the dozen. He does nostalgia without using worn or cliche memories. Each song on this album feels personal.

Key Tracks: ‘Chillin’ It,’ ‘Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,’ ‘The Back Roads and the Back Row’

The Confrontation: Swindell wrote ‘Ain’t Worth the Whiskey’ shortly after a breakup that didn’t end well, and the minute the girl heard it, she knew. “I denied it, I think, when she asked me,” Swindell tells Taste of Country. “But I’m glad she knows. That’s why I wrote it. I’m glad she knows it’s about her, that means I wrote it exactly how I wanted to.”

Did You Know?: Swindell is an artist of multiple mediums. In addition to being an accomplished singer and songwriter, he says he can draw. “I like that side of things,” he says.

Next: More Country Music Albums Coming in 2014

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