For Cole Swindell, the Third Album Comes First

About That Promise He Made to Himself

While Cole Swindell has been dropping hints that his third album is coming soon — “Can’t wait for y’all to hear what’s coming next. Album 3 is right round the corner” — I wanted more specifics than hints.

So when he was in Chicago for one of his last Down Home Tour shows, I asked all about Album 3.

“Some of my favorite artists, it was their third album was their best album,” Swindell told me. “The first one they kind of get you, then the second one they keep you going, but then by the third one, you really have people’s attention.

“You get past the sophomore jinx,” he laughed.

And the time is right for Swindell. His first two albums were almost exactly two years apart, and it’s been just about two years since that second one was released. But Swindell isn’t just throwing any songs on the next album. He’s more careful than that.

“I always promised myself that if I was lucky enough to get a record deal, I was always going to record the best songs. Even if I didn’t write them,” he explained. “Because I remember what it was like as a fan when you’d buy an album and only have a couple songs you liked. So I want every song to be a possible hit.

“You have to remember that you make music for the people that love your music, not for the people in the business.”

He says that since he is no longer the new guy, but he’s not the seasoned veteran yet, that puts him right in the middle. A good place for reflecting on the past and wondering about the future. “Being the new guy was cool, but then once you are selling out stadiums, will the fun be over? And when you’re new and you release one song, people think that’s what you’re all about,” he said, thinking back on his 2013 debut single “Chillin’ It.” But “You Should Be Here” took me to a new level.

“And that gave me a taste of why I love country songs,” he said.

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