Will Cole Swindell Sing About Farmers, Preachers and Teachers?

Old-School Story Songs May Be Next

“Three Wooden Crosses,” the Randy Travis hit from 2002, is kind of my benchmark for a story song. Not just because there’s a beginning, a middle and an end, but because there’s a twist.

(Spoiler alert: Everyone dies. Except the hooker. She is the crash’s sole survivor, but she turns to God because the dying preacher left a blood-stained bible in her hand, and she ultimately goes on to give birth to a boy who becomes a preacher.)

Anyway, finding out Cole Swindell loves that song like I do makes me wonder if he’ll write songs like that someday.

“Who can even write a song like that?” he told me last week in Chicago. “I can’t even fathom how hard it was to write a song that good and have it end the way it does. You listen to it, and you feel like you just watched a movie. Not everybody can do that.”

For his own debut album, Swindell was on a mission to put out the right kind of songs to introduce himself.

“You don’t have a voice yet when you first come out,” he said. “So even though I knew I had some deeper songs, my first album had to be about the tempo and the fun.”

Even though his first three singles — the hits “Chillin’ It,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” and “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” — aren’t like the old ‘90s country he grew up on, he says he’s ready to start heading in that direction.

“I wanna get to cut more of those songs that touch people,” Swindell said. “Right now, maybe it’s more about tempo or whatever, but those songs that make you feel something? That’s the kind of country I fell in love with.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.