Monday, June 24, 2024

The Swon Brothers Discuss The Perfect Day In Muskogee, New Music And Advice For Traveling With Family

The Swon Brothers are a country music duo that got their start as finalists on The Voice. The pair are Colton and Zach Swon, from Muskogee, Oklahoma. Known for their infectious family vibe, The Swon Brothers were entertaining audiences long before their television debut.  

In the mid 90’s, the Swon parents formed a family-style variety show called Westwood Music Show, where Colton and Zach began performing songs from the country music genre. In 2000, when the brothers were young teenagers, they began going by their stage name and performing on their own. 

Zach and Colton also pride themselves on their songwriting and producing and have contributed to many projects including Blake Shelton’s album Body Language. The duo co-wrote the title track and are featured performers on the song. 

The Swon Brothers have released two of their own independent albums and in 2013, released their first single and their first self-titled album on a record label, which reached No. 6 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The duo went on to release two EP’s, Timeless and Pretty Cool Stars, the first of which made it to No. 19 on the Top Country chart. 

The brothers have garnered music industry honors and nominations for CMA, ACM and CMT Music Awards during the course of their professional career. Their latest self-produced album released in 2023 called Covers: Vol. 1 is currently available on all music streaming platforms. The pair are currently working on multiple projects that they hope will be coming out soon.

We had the chance to meet with Colton and Zach at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville where we talked about traveling as a family, the best advice they’ve gotten from mentor Blake Shelton, and a very serious debate on which Reese’s are the best. 

What’s your perfect day in Muskogee, Oklahoma?

Colton: The perfect day in Muskogee, Oklahoma is definitely going to be heading down to a little place called Chet’s Dairy Freeze for some lunch. It’s the best hot dog in the world. Then you’re going to go home and visit the Swon’s place, which is Tammy and Kelly Swan, our parents. You’re going to take a nap by the fireplace. Let the fire get going. Then right after that, you’re going to get up and you’re going to eat again. You’re going to go to a little place called Runts Bar-B-Que. Then you’re going to go home and take another little nap by the fire.

Zach: Well, when I’m home, I’m always outdoors. There’s lots of things to hunt, lots of fish to fish and I love that. Also, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is located in Muskogee, Oklahoma. 

I spent time in Tulsa last year, and I loved the Bob Dylan Museum and the Woody Guthrie Museum. They just have really cool stuff in Oklahoma.

Zach: Muskogee is actually a pretty rich, historic town when it comes to music. The Roxy Theatre is there. They used to have big jazz acts that came through, I mean, the heavy hitters back in the day. It’s such an interesting place. 

Do you have any advice for traveling with family? 

Colton: When you travel with family, what I suggest is to take separate cars or buses, for each individual. (Laughing) No. We have had to learn to get along in very tight quarters on airplanes and sharing hotel rooms. It’s just part of it. The tip is, you ask God for patience.

Zach: It’s not all bad. It is nice to have a piece of family on the road with you. I know a lot of solo artists that don’t get that luxury. But with him, don’t be the first one to fall asleep because you don’t want somebody messing with you. 

You guys famously got your start on The Voice. You’re currently the first duo. Would you ever return to The Voice?

Colton: Yeah. Anytime we get to go back to The Voice, it’s like a reunion. It really is. We recently got to go back and sing Blake off of his last episode, and honestly, it brought back so many memories and emotions. I mean, it’s been ten years for us.

It’s always good to go back and just see the producers and the set. You do get instant anxiety walking on that stage. The feelings come back of just how real and raw it is to have the audience there and do a live performance.

What’s the best advice that Blake gave you as a mentor? 

Colton: He kind of gave it to us the same day. This is the short version of the story, but we were scheduled to do this Doobie Brothers’ song on The Voice. He came in, he said, ‘Man, what are you guys doing?’ This is the day that George Jones passed away. He goes, ‘Look, we got a legend like him passing away. If y’all are going to play country music and be in country music, why don’t y’all do country music?’ That hit us and from that moment on, we really highly considered any time we put out a song or wrote a lyric like, ‘Is this coming from our roots?’

Zach: We actually traded in that song. We emailed the producers that night. We had already rehearsed it with the band and we said, ‘Hey, can we scratch this and do a tribute to George Jones?’ They were like, ‘Well, you have to do it alone because the band doesn’t know it.’ So we did. We did it by ourselves. The Voice band didn’t play with us. We ended up doing “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” and it ended up being one of the coolest moments of the show.

What do you guys have in store for 2024? 

Zach: We’re actually going in two weeks to start one of multiple projects that we’re working on this year. This one will be out sooner than everything else, but we’re doing kind of a broken-down bluegrass project with fiddle and dobro, and we’re going to film the whole thing and try to capture it all on video, as raw as possible. 

But we are doing it in a studio, so the audio will still be good. It’s just something different. We get a lot of requests for that. Every show we play, there’s a part of the show where we send the band away and we do our thing together and then we get emails and messages about that part of the show. People say ‘Record this,’ you know, and so that’s what we’re doing.

What’s inspiring you to write right now?

Colton: You know, we’ve been writing really sweet songs. We went on this kick of like, hunting and whiskey songs. Lately it has been nothing but long-term commitment and ‘I love you’ songs. I don’t know if it’s just the phase of life we’re in or what.

You guys travel a lot. Have you found any hidden gems on the road that you would tell people to visit?

Zach: I love Deadwood, South Dakota. I was kind of a fan of the show on HBO. It just seems like you’re walking back in time. I mean, if you’ve been there, you know. There are saloons and everything. It’s awesome. I love that place. 

Colton: You know, I have really grown to love Kentucky. We have hunted in a little place called Owens near Lawrenceburg.

Zach: It’s about three hours exactly from here. It’s right in the middle of all the bourbon distilleries.

Colton: It’s been our favorite bro’s trip the last 3 or 4 years. We go out in the first week of September. You will always find us in Kentucky hunting.

What’s your favorite truck stop go-to item? 

Zach: Well, it’s usually the same no matter the truck stop. But now that I’ve discovered Buc-ee’s, that Subway looking beef jerky selection that they have, I mean, that’s incredible. I go in there and sample all of them every time and then buy a pound of beef jerky.

Colton: I’m gonna go with something very basic and classic. I’d like a good Reese’s or Snickers. One of the two. I’m going to switch them out every once in a while.

Zach: Do you think there’s a difference in the Reese’s that are like regular and then holiday Reese’s?

I enjoy both. There’s more peanut butter in the holiday ones.

Zach: The Reese’s eggs at Easter are by far the best. They just taste different.

They’re definitely in my fridge at the hotel right now. I used to love the crunchy Reese’s. You can still buy them at very select gas stations.

Colton: Do you like the Fast Breaks? 

They’re okay. My other go to is the Nutrageous. 

Zach: Have you tried the Reese’s with the potato chips in it? 

No I haven’t.  

Colton: I have.

Zach: Is it good?

Colton: Surprisingly, yeah. A little salty with some chocolate. 

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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