Why you should care

Who doesn’t understand the value of relaxing with a crush on the open road?

Are we there yet?

That’s one thing you won’t be thinking while taking a road trip in a pickup truck with singer/songwriter Cole Swindell, his baseball cap and his baby blues. Swindell’s debut single, “Chillin’ It,” has sold more than 470,000 copies and is nearing gold status — not bad for his first song.

Swindell is from the small town of Bronwood, Ga., and just three years ago he was selling merchandise on tour with country music star Luke Bryan. Now he’s ditched the T-shirt sales and opens shows for Bryan, and he’s written songs for Bryan as well as Chris Young and Scotty McCreery.

“Chillin’ It” gained popularity through word of mouth and social media, bringing Swindell a lot of attention and a record deal with Warner Bros. Records. The tune has a catchy chorus that embodies the laid-back atmosphere of driving with a loved one — or just a kissing buddy — and watching the sunset with some ice cold beer. It soothes in its simplicity.

I got my shades on, top back, rollin’ with the music jacked / One on the wheel, one around you, baby / Sunset, I bet there’s a chance we could get, sure enough, tangled up, laid back and lazy.”

”It isn’t a full-out party song, and it isn’t serious,” says Swindell. ”Like it says, it’s just a chill song, and that’s just me.”

Music reviewer Billy Dukes calls it a “decaf version of Florida Georgia Line,” adding that it ”isn’t about the words or the musicianship. It’s about the vibe and the sweet groove this Georgia-raised singer lays down patiently.”

Judging by how many different big-name labels were courting Swindell this past summer, the expectations for this Nashville newcomer are high. Swindell’s debut album will be out in early 2014, and we’ll be able to see if his other songs are as successful as the country music stars he’s rubbing shoulders with.

Is he there yet?

Almost.

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