LORETTA'S ARTIST OF WEEK 11/10/14 - 11/16/14
There really must be something in the water in Oklahoma. The state has produced more country greats per capita than probably anywhere else on earth – Reba, Blake, Vince, Garth, and Toby all hail from the same state where The Swon Brothers spent their formative years. In fact, Muskogee, OK, natives Zach and Colton Swon grew up right down the street from American Idol champ-turned-country-superstar Carrie Underwood, and the three shared a stage many times throughout their childhood years.
Already naturals before they were even pre-teens, both Zach and Colton found that they were most at home on stage. Performing in their family’s gospel group since they were old enough to talk. After leaving the road, their parents formed a family-style variety show in nearby Wagoner, OK, and soon Zach and Colton were charming crowds and cutting their musical teeth on everything from Elvis to Frank Sinatra.
The Swons’ show at the Civic Center was soon filling the building to capacity, and little did they know that those weekly performances would be great training for their break as contestants on NBC’s hit talent competition, The Voice. After trying out for the show in 2013, the siblings became instant fan favorites, not only musically, but also personally, as their fun-loving, often hilarious brotherly banter gave fans insight into a duo whose off-stage personalities are as engaging and down to earth as they are on stage.
Teamed with judge Blake Shelton on “Team Blake” on Season 4 of the series, Shelton guided the duo into the Top 3 and a near-win, and later became a close ally who helped them navigate the ins and outs of the music business when Nashville record labels came calling.
Life has a funny way of coming full circle, as the Swons discovered when they signed a deal with Arista Nashville, the same label as their old Oklahoma buddy, Carrie Underwood. When Zach and Colton were selecting a producer, they found a kindred spirit in another Carrie connection: Mark Bright. With an award-winning producer on board, the Swons sifted through a mountain of songs to craft a collection that highlights both their soulful family harmonies and unique vocal strengths.
Fans got their first taste of the resulting self-titled album when the Swons debuted their groove-filled opening single, “Later On,” during a triumphant return to The Voice, which propelled the song to the top of the iTunes country singles chart within 24 hours.
Spanning 11 songs in all, The Swon Brothers features fun-filled, energetic sing-alongs like “Later On” and “What I’m Thinking About,” but it also has its share of laid-back, dirt-road, classic country heart-wrenchers like “Chasing You Around” and “Same Old Highway.” The two Eagles-esque tunes flow through the speakers like old, familiar friends. At the other end of the spectrum from high-energy up-tempos like “95” – an ode to the fun side of weathering a heat wave – are songs like the contemplative yet non-judgmental “Pray for You” and the gorgeous narrative “This Side of Heaven,” both of which highlight the depth and breadth of the Swons’ talent and their innate ability to connect with a song.
Though they both write, they mined a wealth of rich outside material for their major-label debut, but for “Songs That Said It All,” the duo co-wrote the track as the result of a chance meeting at a concert by one of their biggest influences: the Eagles. Crisp, standout vocals, heartfelt music, and tight harmonies are a hallmark of this diverse and impressive out-of-the-gate album by the Swons, who as co-producers took pains in the studio to make sure that their distinctive vocal sound was the main focus throughout.