When Cole Swindell was 11, and his parents were going through a divorce, he fell in love with country music.
More specifically, a country song about a divorce.
“Looking back, I remember the moment I knew I loved country music. It was when I heard Clay Walker’s ‘This Woman and This Man,’” Swindell told me Wednesday night (Nov. 30) before the first of his two sold-out shows in Chicago during CMT on Tour.
He connected with the song because of what was going on in his own life, he said, and so he’d listen to it over and over and over.
“I’m sure my mom was like, ‘Turn that off,’” he laughed.
But Walker’s song piqued the young Swindell’s interest in the genre and turned him into a fan of all the music on country radio in the ’90s.
“I remember running around the Albany Mall by my house trying to find George Strait’s ‘Check Yes or No,’ only to find out it was in a boxed set that was like $50, which I couldn’t afford,” he said.
Swindell says he still has so much respect for those artists and all the great music they made.
“Hopefully, those artists know that they’re why we get to do what we love. We wouldn’t be here without ’90s country,” he said, “but it is tough to follow in their footsteps.”