The Swon Brothers Did Some Field Research to See If They Should Make a New Album
After the Swon Brothers released "Travelin' On," their duet with Vince Gill, in late 2019, they realized it had been six years since they put out a full album. "We didn't even realize, like, 'Oh my gosh, it's been that long?!" the brother duo's Colton Swon told The Boot during the 2020 Country Radio Seminar.
In the meantime, they'd put out a couple of EPs and singles, but in the time since their last full-length project, the model for releasing music had shifted dramatically in favor of a song-by-song approach, and they weren't even sure that the demand for a full album would be there. So, they turned to the people whose opinions matter most: their fans.
"We did a little test. We just put it up on Facebook, and said, 'We're thinking about cutting a new album -- what do you guys think?' And it was like everyone came out of the woodwork and said, 'This is what we've been waiting on,'" Swon continues. "Which was humbling and flattering, because as an artist, you're just trying to think of ways to stick out and keep people's attention.
"For that many people to speak up and say, 'We want more music' -- people get bombarded with music every day," he continues. "So it's cool to know that people want to hear more than one song from us. It just feels good."
Since they last released a full-length project, the duo has seen changes in their personal lives, too: In 2018, Colton got married, with his brother and bandmate Zach Swon by his side as his best man.
"It definitely changed [songwriting] for me, though. You definitely have a different perspective," Colton Swon allows of married life. "I don't know if it's just getting older, but getting married put me in a state of mind where [I'm] just really comfortable in [my] own skin ... You're just more honest, more open, and, musically, you take more risks."
While Zach doesn't feel those changes as acutely, he agrees that the next batch of music from the Swon Brothers will show the bandmates' musical growth over the last six years. "I think, for me, this record is more about attitude and the style of music," he says.
"When we're sitting at home, it's hard to get into a mode where we're writing something that we both love. We get there, and we fight for it, but the stuff that [Colton] listens to is way different than the stuff that I listen to. Our view on where we should go musically definitely has changed over the years," Swon continues.
"I think he's doing me a favor," Zach adds of his brother. "I mean, he loves the music too, but especially the songs we just cut, they're just in my wheelhouse, as far as music that I like to listen to. Even if it wasn't our record, these songs are still songs I'd buy on iTunes."
That musical style, the band says, will feature a healthy dose of country "swagger." The Swon Brothers wrote about half of their next record, but some of the songs that were outside cuts had some influence from a country superstar who does "swagger" better than just about anyone else.
"We got some songs pitched to us by none other than Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line," Zach Swon reveals, adding that Hubbard isn't the only big-name country artist featured as a writer on the collection.
"Every writer on these tunes is just a monster writer: [Members of] Little Big Town were involved in one, Jimi [Westbrook] and Phillip [Sweet]. Charles Kelley [of Lady Antebellum], Corey Crowder, Jordan Schmidt -- there's just a lot of really cool things about these songs," he continues.
The new project will also be the first that the Swon Brothers are fully self-producing, and the bandmates agree that it's turning out to be their most cohesive album to date.
"[The songs] all just kinda mesh together," Zach Swon reflects. "There's a little bit of something for everyone -- and lots of songs for the ladies!
"[Self-producing] is really rewarding," he adds, "and I'm so happy to do this with my brother."
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