Tonight’s Country Music #CMchat guests, The Swon Brothers (Zach and Colton Swon), released their self-titled debut album yesterday and will be celebrating the big day with us via video chat (or “Swangout”) at 5pmPT/8pmET. Naturally, with the intent of pre-gaming for our exciting night, we had to have ourselves an at-home audio Swoncert, complete with all eleven tracks from the siblings’ first studio offering. An initial response to the album is there was no better way to prepare for the fun video chat ahead.
As if the Swons’ lead single off their album, “Later On,” wasn’t indication enough that the brothers have star power, and more importantly, staying power, the ten other tracks they now have under their belts and in the public’s ear further solidify the potential of this dynamic duo and double dose of DNA. Upon first listen, only one word kept coming to mind and escaping my lips – “Wow.” It’s times like these and albums like The Swon Brothers that make you sit back, realize the power and significance of competition television shows that offer a platform for aspiring artists to share their talents with the world, and say “thank you” to those who dreamed up the avenue for these musicians. Without allowing them the ability to step in front of the camera, shout from the rooftops that they have what it takes to make it, and putting their fate in America’s hands, we would be sorely deprived of some of the greatest music in existence. That rings true for the Swons because their debut offering could very well be one of the most Swonsational albums (from front to back) that have come across my “desk” in quite some time.
The Swon Brothers disc contains music for every listener, whether it is someone who is looking for an uptempo tune to which he or she can drive with the windows down, a ballad to tug at his or her heartstrings and which to spend some time wallowing, or something in between. From one end of the spectrum to the other, the brothers Swon provide an all encompassing project that anyone who appreciates vocals of perfection, harmonies of silk, relatable lyrics, and remarkable instrumentation and musicality can stand firmly behind.
The two singles that have been released from this album, so far, “Later On” and “Pray For You” were tremendous choices for radio, but, I would not have wanted to be involved in making that decision. Out of the eleven tracks, there are, at the very least, a heaping handful of cuts that would fare well on radio and deserve the opportunity to make a run at the charts. And the beauty of the many that should be considered contenders is that none of them sounds like the one before, providing the Swons with an album that is not only a gift to their fans and a gift to the industry, but a practically endless gift to themselves.
Highlights from this album include “Songs That Said It All,” “Breaking,” and “This Side of Heaven” (featuring longtime friend and Swon Brothers supporter, Carrie Underwood). I distinctly recall hearing “Songs That Said It All” a couple of months back during a live Swoncert and having to subtly lift my jaw off the floor. The track is an obvious hit, channeling a love for another that is so strong and so meaningful that spoken words just can’t seem to do it justice; so, when words cannot be found, the couple relies on the lyrics and melody of a song that speaks on their behalves. With the broad vocal range of each of the brothers and their innate ability to meet in the same place and layer one another so seamlessly, the depth and emotion that is ridden in this song brings the beautiful lyrics to life, painting a picture of the characters at hand.
“Breaking” sits in the middle of the album, ensuring listeners that the start of the project isn’t the only thing worth giving a listen. In a ballad laced with vulnerability, “Breaking” provides a chorus that can only be defined as “simply breathtaking.” In lyrics that admit defeat and the longing for a love lost, the brothers sing “through the fire, through the rain, you’re the one my heart keeps chasing, even when it’s breaking.” Perhaps the most powerful moment on the album comes during this song when the electric guitars offer a few chords in the bridge and lead into a brief, albeit outstanding, acapella reintroduction to the lyrics.
A perfect end to the album is “This Side of Heaven,” a tearjerker of a track that makes you want to return to the first song on the album, “What I’m Thinking About,” to shift your mood from melancholy to cheerful. However, despite its sadness, what makes this song a standout on the offering is the honesty behind the words, the sentiment from the Swons, and the vocal support from Carrie Underwood. From the opening strokes of the piano (a surefire way to capture my heart immediately) to the expressive and sympathetic lyrics of understanding that life on this side of heaven, sometimes, legitimately is akin to hell, the song causes a listener to put life into perspective, weigh his or her troubles, admit defeat, accept that hard times are inevitable, but realize that there is something better out there for them; even if it’s just a matter of keeping faith that the greener grass is truly on the proverbial “other side.”
Amidst the more impassioned tracks are upbeat and mid-tempo tunes that complement the thoughtfulness of the slower paced songs. The supplementation of the faster beats offer variety, but the lyrics never falter in regard to their capabilities of roping listeners in and allowing them to relate. In fact, what makes the uplifting songs unique from what is being released in country music today is that tracks like “What I’m Thinking About,” “Later On,” and “95” tell a story and emit feeling, while simultaneously entertaining. The songs that rest somewhere between the high and low, such as “Chasing You Around” and “Colder,” pave a perfect middle ground between the uptempo and the slower tracks, which also include the gorgeous “Pretty Beautiful” and “Same Old Highway.”
The Swon Brothers is an album that listeners will enjoy from beginning to end without skipping a literal beat. The melodies, the lyrics, the music, and the vocals that cannot adequately be compared to anybody else in country music (or in music, for that matter) place this debut project from Zach and Colton Swon in a class and a league of its own. Whether The Swon Brothers took home the trophy during their season on The Voice is irrelevant at this point in their careers, as they unquestionably are champions with the release of this album.
Listen to The Swon Brothers singles “Later On” & “Pray For You”:
Buy The Swon Brothers here:
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