Country Superstar Cole Swindell Talks About Writing ‘You Should Be Here’ At Gillette Stadium And Why He Loves Playing In New England

Cole SwindellPhoto Credit: Joseph Llanes

If you’re a huge fan of country music like we are here in Boston, you are already familiar with Cole Swindell ‘s smash hits like “Flatliner,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” “Middle of A Memory,” “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” and “You Should Be Here.” What you may not realize is the platinum-selling recording artist and 10-time No. 1 singer/songwriter actually wrote the single “You Should Be Here” in the parking lot at Gillette Stadium here in Foxboro, Mass. after a show as a tribute to his late father.

The Georgia native has already toured with some of the biggest names in country music (think Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Dierks Bentley). Right now, Swindell is currently in the midst of his Reason To Drink Tour with Chris Janson and Lauren Alaina. Last weekend, the tour was in New Hampshire and Connecticut, but in case you missed either of those shows, Swindell and crew will be returning to New England to perform at the Ryan Center in Kingston, Rhode Island on March 3.

Swindell took some time out of his busy touring schedule to catch up with us to dish about writing “You Should Be Here” at Gillette Stadium, what he loves most about playing in New England and why Boston remains so special.

Tell us about writing the song “You Should Be Here” in the parking lot of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

I remember writing “You Should Be Here” in Gillette Stadium. Ashley Gorley, one of my favorite songwriters, was out on the road with me. I was out on tour with Luke Bryan and Ashley had walked into the stadium taking pictures of the stage and the set-up and sent them to his daughter with the caption ‘you should be here.’ So he had that title and he ran it by me when he got back on the bus and although he was thinking of his daughter, I immediately thought of my dad and how much he’d be freaking out seeing me play in a football stadium. Being from Georgia that’s a long way from home, but I think I will always have a special tie to that stadium and that area just because that’s one of my favorite songs I‘ve ever written.  I’m glad that I wrote it there and have that memory.

Were you surprised that song became such a huge hit resonating with so many fans? 

While writing the song we decided what direction we were going to take.  I obviously thought of my dad and losing him and I wanted a song that honored him, but also one that other people could relate to.  We didn’t want to write it to be too personal to me that other people couldn’t relate to their own stories.  You would not believe the ”You Should Be Here” stories I’ve heard. Every single night I hear one and it lets me know how fortunate I am and how fortunate I was to have my dad as long as I did and to know that I’m using my music to help other people through things that I have been through personally—that is the best gift of all I think.

Did you have a similar song that touched you the same way this one has your fans? 

There are so many great country songs. One in particular I remember, when I was a kid riding around with my mom as my parents were going through divorce and Clay Walker had this song “This Women and This Man” and it was just a love song about hoping they could get it back again.  I remember how that song hit me so hard because that’s how I was feeling as a kid wishing that my parents could get it back together again. I know my mom was probably not wanting to hear that song at that time, but for me I learned at an early age that music was like therapy and I’m so glad I get to be on the other side and get to write some of the songs that help other people now.

Why did you decide to write the song at Gillette? 

Well, mainly we wrote it at Gillette Stadium because that’s where we were. We were planning on writing that day and when you hear a title like that we immediately knew it could be a huge song.  There was no sense in waiting, so we wrote it that day. It honestly was just one of those things that was meant to be. It didn’t take very long, it poured out of us and those always seem like the best songs.

What inspires you most when writing songs?  

Lots of different things inspire me when writing songs. Everyday life, listening to people talk, real life situations, love stories, breakups—just everything. It’s all about real life. I think one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given about writing songs was years ago. I asked another songwriter, “What’s the best advice you can give about me wanting to be a songwriter?” and they said, “live.” One word. I kind of took it in wondering if they were being short with me, but looking back that is by far the best advice I could give ever give anybody.  Just live.

Which of your songs do you enjoy most performing live? 

I love playing all my songs live. “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” is always a big hit. It seems like there is always somebody going through some heartbreak or another person they are singing “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” to. My favorite part about that song is the shout-out to the troops—our law enforcement, fire fighters, EMTs, all the first responders—getting to tie that in to raising my glass and celebrate all those folks is one of my favorite parts of the show.

What do you like most about playing in New England? 

What I love most about playing in New England is the people, the fans. If you’re talking about baseball, football, music, real life, whatever it is, it’s just passionate people. Me, being a Georgia boy, it’s so far away from there, it’s sometimes hard to believe that some of my biggest fans are in the northeast and I’ll never stop coming there.  I hope people keep coming out to see us because it really is one of our favorite places in the country to play.

Any favorite places you must go when you are in Boston? 

I love every chance we get to play around the Boston area. There is a place called Loretta’s that me and the guys like to hang-out.  It’s a little country bar and it’s almost like a taste of Nashville up in Boston, definitely one of my favorite places to hang when I’m in town and get a few days off.