Fans of Cole Swindell were treated to a nice little pre holiday treat today with the release of his new EP Down Home Sessions. Five previously unreleased tracks make up the EP and give fans a taste of what’s to come from Swindell in the future. Highlighted by “Ready” and “The Way You’re Lovin’ Me Now,” Swindell is able to show his progression as an artist in just five songs.
The first thing you’ll notice on Down Home Sessions is a slightly different inflection in Swindell’s voice. It’s mixed differently from his debut self-titled album, offering a more natural sound. Less auto-tune gives this a more natural sound, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Swindell has improved greatly as a vocalist over the last few years. This is a culmination of lots of hard work for Swindell as he looks to perfect a sound uniquely his own. Any prior criticism that he sounded too similar to Luke Bryan should go away with Down Home Sessions.
Here we have five songs true to who Swindell wants to be as an artist and as a performer. They are songs that are easy to sing along with, easy to connect with, and easy to fall in love with. Both “Ready” and “The Way You’re Lovin’ Me Now” offer stereotypical country lyrics, yet manage to feel new. New guitar riffs and background vocals are subtly mixed in giving each song a sound that we haven’t heard from Swindell.
It’s easy to tell that he is becoming a more confident singer as well. There were moments on his debut album that felt forced as he tried to push vocal boundaries – something that’s extremely common on artist’s first records. Here those moments have been nearly eliminated. “Kiss” is a prime example of this. As Swindell sings his way through the chorus, you’ll notice multiple changes in inflection. That’s something that would have felt forced a year and a half ago when he recorded his debut album, now it feels natural.
The EP closes with “Workin’ On Me” and “Boomerang.” For “Workin’ On Me” it sounds like a continuation of “Swayin'” from album number one. Listen to the songs back to back and the progression of Swindell and his sound becomes clear. There’s a fuller sound here. Without question Swindell has a voice built for up tempo songs, but “Workin’ On Me Now” shows his ability to sing down tempo despite it not being one of his strengths.
Swindell wraps up the EP with “Boomerang,” a song that his bigger fans should be familiar with. A song that Swindell has performed live off and on for the past year, it was one of the final cuts from his debut album. Swindell and producer Michael Carter have strengthened the track since it’s first cut. A fuller sound is present with the addition of some soft background vocals and a bigger guitar sound. Expect the track to quickly become a staple of Swindell’s live shows.
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Cole Swindell is currently headlining his Down Home Tour before he joins up with Jason Aldean for the winter leg of the Burn it Down Tour. Swindell has also been tabbed to open up select dates for Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival Tour including both nights at Gillette Stadium on August 28 and 29.