Cole Swindell is a big fan of Arizona. After all, he says, what’s not to like? Golf, check. Mexican food, even better. Raucous crowds, perfect.
“It’s one of my favorite areas in the country,” Swindell says. “I love golf, one. Two, the radio there has been so good to me. Anytime we play there, you can tell people are into it.
“Phoenix is one of my favorite cities, honestly. If I wasn’t in Nashville, I’d be in Arizona—maybe someday.”
The multiplatinum 11-time No. 1 singer will open for Luke Bryan at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Thursday, June 13. Swindell is pushing his third album, 2018’s “All of It,” which spawned the Grammy-nominated hit “Break Up in the End,” and one of YouTube’s Best Country Songs of 2018, “Love You Too Late.”
Now, Swindell is in the studio work on “Down Home Sessions” for his “hardcore fans.” The EP will feature songs he wrote, but were hits for others.
“It’s going to be feel-good fun songs for the summer,” Swindell says. “Any time I put out new music, it’s awesome. I love putting out these kinds of songs. It’s how my career started.”
Swindell is quick to add he didn’t get as far as he did on his own. He surrounds himself with “good people” and worked hard.
“People can open doors for you, but they can’t play the shows for you,” he says. “They can’t write the songs for you. That gets misconstrued, ‘He wouldn’t be there without this or that.’ You have to believe in yourself to get that break.”
He’s loyal to a fault as well. He has the same band—minus one band member—since day one.
“We’re a tight-knit group,” he says. “I’m at a place in my career where I have to get to the next level. We’re three albums in and working on another tour, I’m thankful about how lucky and blessed I’ve been. I wouldn’t be here without a lot of people.”
Swindell is looking forward to returning with Bryan to Phoenix. Calling from rehearsal, Swindell is planning to change his set so it’s different from previous gigs.
“We realize a lot of fans saw us last year, so we’re trying to change it up to give it a whole new look,” he says. “We’ve played the singles we’ve had success with on the radio. I want to focus on the songs that were on my first three albums that didn’t make it on the radio.”
An avid Atlanta Braves fan who visits baseball stadiums when he can, Swindell came up with this after attending a country concert last year.
“The songs I was so excited about were the ones on the first album that you never hear live,” he says. “I learned something from that. This year, I’m going to mash them up, and play a cover here and there. They’re always a surprise, though. It’s an energetic show. We’re just honored to be out there opening for Luke. We have a lot of history together and this is our last hurrah together. It’s time for me to move on.”
Luke Bryan w/Cole Swindell, Jon Langston and DJ Rock
Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Avenue, Phoenix, livenation.com, 7 p.m. Thursday, June 13, tickets start at $44.25.