Cole Swindell’s Set List Tells His Story

CMT on Tour/Down Home Tour Dates Wrap This Weekend

When Cole Swindell first took a stage, his set list was just filled with songs. Now it’s full of moments.

The last time Swindell played Chicago — two back-to-back sold-out shows — he was headlining. And he told me that’s a much different animal that when he was an opening act.

“When you’re touring with Luke, Aldean and Chesney, those crowds are huge. And you’re blessed to be in front of that many people all year. You just get out there and get the fans fired up for someone else, and your set list is just song, song, song,” Swindell said.

Once you become the headliner, he explained, you have a little more freedom to craft a set list that kind of paints a picture.

“I want every song to have some kind of meaning, and those moments are what set this set list apart,” he said. “Like when I get to play ‘Kiss,’ a song I wouldn’t usually get to play, and it’s where the idea for ‘Middle of a Memory’ came from. Or when I get to play ‘The Back Roads and the Back Row,’ a song that tells my story. Or when we do cover songs from my college days.

Even though Swindell is heading out on the road with Dierks Bentley in 2017, he is currently soaking up his own chance to be the headliner with three more shows until his Down Home Tour — presented by CMT on Tour — wraps on Saturday (Dec. 17) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Right now, I’m the last one up there onstage,” he said. “That makes me feel good. If this is my job, I’m in love with it.”

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