Growing up in Muskogee, OK, brothers Zach and Colton Swon were small town kids with big time dreams. The boys played with their family band since they were old enough to talk and wanted to make music for a living. Even at ages 9 and 12, the Brothers Swon had it in mind that they would be the pint-size version of Brooks and Dunn.
“Nobody really told us that the odds of you making enough to be able to pay your bills are really slim to none. The odds are against you. When we grew up we didn’t realize that not everyone played music. We thought it was normal for everyone to grow up around it,” says Colton Swon. “For your parents to support you, whether it was driving us to Nashville or giving us the gas money to get to Nashville, it means a lot when you don’t have a backup plan. We didn’t have anything to fall back on. We knew we wanted it. We just didn’t think we could get to this level.”
The Swon Brothers are gearing up for an epic run in support of their friend and fellow Okie, Carrie Underwood on her Storyteller Tour. The arena tour kicks of Jan 30 at the Veterans Memorial Arena and spans 40 arenas across the US and Canada.
“We’re beyond excited. What a great opportunity. It’s the first time she’s been out in a while and I think people are ready to see her show and we’re lucky to be a part of it,” Swon says. “We’ve got brand new music that people have never heard and that’s going to hopefully be out by then. There is so much going on that’s it like a joy overload. To be a part of her show, words cannot express how grateful we are. There are so many country music fans that we get to be in front of every night because she is willing to share the stage.”
There was no hesitation when they got the offer to join the tour, especially since it started out as a joke. “We texted her from the bus one night and we’re like ‘whatever you need for your tour, if you need a babysitter or a dog walker, whatever you need, we’ll do it if we can go on tour with you’,” Colton says. “She said she wouldn’t trust us to babysit and then the next day we get a call from our agent that ‘hey, there’s been an offer if you guys want to be on tour’.”
Growing up just 10 minutes from Underwood, who was raised in neighboring Checotah, the Swons often played the same music shows as the future Grammy winner. Underwood also attended Northeastern State University with Zach. “She’s always been super sweet and she hasn’t changed a bit,” he says. “Country music is just like family. If one person can do something to help another person, they do it. They’re not greedy or just trying to worry about themselves. That’s what I love about it. It’s just one big family. We still have a lot to prove and a lot of work to do.”
The Swon Brothers and Underwood share more than their Oklahoma roots. They both found success within the framework of TV music shows. They placed third on season four of The Voice with coach Blake Shelton in 2013 and Underwood famously won season four of American Idol in 2003 before becoming a country music darling.
“It was nothing but an advantage. It just introduced us to so many country music fans whether it was online or on TV, just so many people that didn’t know our name before. The biggest advantage is the people and fans. So it made the road a little shorter to get on radio but it wasn’t an overnight success,” says Colton. “People that didn’t know us before The Voice don’t know that we’ve been working toward this the last 17 years of our lives. But if you would have told us we were going to be on tour with her after having done a similar show, I’d have told you that you were crazy.”
The Swon Brothers are keeping a busy schedule on and off the road, playing live, writing new material and recording their upcoming release. The Swons appeared as a special guest on the 2015 run of Brad Paisley’s Country Nation World Tour presented by KRAFT Cheese. Their self-titled major-label debut album, co-produced by the Swons and Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans), featured the hit “Later On.” The duo received their first CMA nomination for Duo Video of the Year and will tour in support of their latest project “Timeless”, an independent release.
“This is something we are really excited about. The last record we didn’t really get to write that much for and this record we’ve written all six songs. It’s one of those things we’ve put our heart and soul into. It’s a whole lot more us. I think you get to realize a lot more who we are as artists. It just kind of took on theme with the music and the sound,” says Colton.
“The title track is called “Timeless”. We wrote it about the woman who’s just timeless in everything from what she wears to how she acts. A lot of our songs right now are about a girl but it all has a throwback feel in the sound and in the production. As far as the subject matter, we’re in our late 20’s and we’re thinking about girls. I think you’ll hear that on there. And that’s okay. That’s an audience that we want.”