7 Songs You Didn’t Know Cole Swindell Wrote for Other Artists

Years before Cole Swindell released his debut in 2014, the Georgia native had already built a foundation as a Nashville songwriter. Moving to Nashville in 2007, Swindell started out by selling merchandise for fellow Georgia Southern University alum Luke Bryan before landing a publishing gig and penning songs for the then newly crowned American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, along with Bryan, and Chris Young, among other artists.

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Swindell’s songwriting segued into his own catalog with the release of Cole Swindell and his debut No. 1 single, “Chillin’ It,” with more hits following, including “Flatliner,” “Middle of a Memory”  and the title track off of his second album, You Should Be Here. By 2016, Swindell’s third album, All Of It, kept him high on the country charts with “Break Up in the End” and “Love You Too Late,” straight through his 2022 release, Stereotype, and the hit singles “Never Say Never” and “Single Saturday Night.”

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Nearly a decade since his debut, Swindell has earned himself a collection of No. 1 singles as a solo artist—“Chillin’ It,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey,” “Let Me See Ya Girl,” “You Should Be Here,” “Middle of a Memory,” “Flatliner” and “Love You Too Late”—and 11 No. 1 hits as a songwriter as well as a number of awards and accolades, including the 2016 NSAI Songwriter/Artist of the Year and two CMA Triple Play Awards. 

Looking outside his own solo songbook, here are seven songs Swindell penned for everyone from Bryan and Florida Georgia Line to Thomas Rhett, among others throughout the 2010s.

1. “Water Tower Town” Scotty McCreery (2011)
Written by Cole Swindell, Lynn Hutton, Tami Kidd Hutton

Straight off winning season 10 of American Idol, Scotty McCreery released his debut album, Clear as Day, in 2011. On the album, Swindell co-wrote the reflective “Water Tower Town,” one McCreery’s favorite tracks that reminded him of his hometown of Garner, North Carolina.

“This was a song that reminds me of my hometown,” shared McCreery. “The water tower in my hometown was right across the train tracks from the baseball field that I grew up playing at when I was younger, so I grew up passing the water tower every day. It talks about Friday night football and sweet tea and fireflies—all things that relate to Garner, North Carolina. When I heard it I was just smiling ear to ear. That’s one of the songs that I’m excited about putting out and seeing the reaction to, and I know my hometown will be all over that song and probably playing it at football games and stuff. That’s definitely one of my favorites on the album.”

Friday night football games, sweet tea goes good with anything
Fireflies come out when the sun goes down
Nobody eats till you say Amen, and everybody knows your mama’s name
You can see who loves who from miles around, in a water tower town

2. “Outta My Head,” Craig Campbell
Written by Cole Swindell, Michael Carter, Brandon Kinney

For Craig Campbell‘s second album, Never Enough, Swindell penned two tracks: “My Baby’s Daddy” and the lead single “Outta My Head.” Campbell released his most recent extended play See You Try in 2018 along with a number of singles, including “by God,” “Things You Do in a Truck” “Mary Did You Know?” in 2022, and “Tractor Songs” in 2023.

I rode around long enough with my windows down
Let that breeze roll in, carry your perfume out
I took your number and messages off my phone
Ah, but you ain’t gone

Wish I could close my eyes
And not have to see you smilin’ yeah
Yeah, can’t get you outta my head

3. “Nothin’ But the Cooler Left,” Chris Young (2013)
Written by Cole Swindell, Michael Carter, Brandon Kinney

On Chris Young‘s fourth album, A.M., “Nothin’ But the Cooler Left” reflects on the more carefree Friday summer nights—Everybody grab a cold beer / Pop it open, raise it up in the air / Bump cans with your neighbor. A.M., which included the hit singles “Lonely Eyes,” “Aw Naw,” and “Who I Am with You,” debuted at No. 2 on the Top Country Albums chart and No. 3 on Billboard 200.

Been waitin’ all week
About to bust loose
Got the party iced down in my off-shore igloo
Everybody’s gatherin’ around
Wherever we are that’s where we’re throwin’ down

4. “Get Me Some of That,” Thomas Rhett (2013)
Written by Cole Swindell, Rhett Akins, Michael Carter

The fourth single off Thomas Rhett‘s 2013 debut, It Goes Like This, “Get Me Some of That” was co-written by his father Rhett Akins (who also penned his son’s previous No. 1 song, “It Goes Like This”) along with Swindell and Michael Carter. The song hit No. 1 on the Country Airplay and No. 4 on the Hot Country Songs charts.

Initially, “Get Me Some of That,” which follows a love connection at a party, wasn’t written for Rhett. “We thought his record was done,” said Akins of the single in 2013. “We pitched it to a few people, and they passed on it, just like ‘It Goes Like This’ was passed on by some pretty big artists. … I think it’s just one of those things where a song is meant to be where it’s meant to be. Both of these songs I truly believe were meant for Thomas Rhett. I think that’s why they were both passed on by a bunch of people. I sent it to him, and he called me saying, ‘Dad, I’m cutting that! That’s a smash!’”

Little more what you doin’ right there
Swingin’ your hips and slingin’ your hair
Side to side with your drink in the air
Lord have mercy now girl
Gotta get me some of of you alone
We can worry ’bout it later on
Right now keep makin’ this my favorite song

5. “This Is How We Roll,” Florida Georgia Line with Luke Bryan (2013)
Written by Cole Swindell, Luke Bryan, Tyler Hubbard, Bryan Kelley

The final single off country duo Florida Georgia Line‘s breakout debut Here’s to the Good Times was their collaboration with Luke Bryan. Co-written by Bryan and Swindell along with Florida Georgia Line’s Bryan Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, the track went straight to No. 1 on the country charts and was certified platinum six times.

The mixtapes got a little Hank, little Drake
A little somethin’ bumpin’, thumb thumpin’ on the wheel right
The mix in our drinks, a little stronger than you think
So get a grip, take a sip of that feel right
Trucks jacked up, flat bills flipped back
Yeah, you can find us where the party’s at

6. “Roller Coaster,” Luke Bryan (2014)
Written by Cole Swindell and Michael Carter

Bryan and Swindell had deep roots long before they met in Nashville. Both graduates of Georgia Southern University—Bryan in ’99 and Swindell in 2007—the two naturally gravitated toward one another years later.

“I just remember thinking, ‘wow, this guy’s gonna be a huge star,’” said Swindell of watching Bryan perform earlier in his career. “I remember seeing him play live and thinking, ‘this guy’s an unbelievable entertainer.’ It took a while to catch on for him … but where he is now, I [knew] he was a star from the first time I saw him.”

By the 2010s, Swindell had written a number of songs for Bryan, including “I’m Hungover,” “Just a Sip,” “Beer in the Headlights,” “Out Like That,” “In Love with the Girl,” and the No. 1 mid-tempo ballad, “Roller Coaster,” off Bryan’s fourth album, Crash My Party.

Would last longer than that week did
Blown away and barely breathin’
Sunday came and it was over
Now she’s got me twisted
Like an old beach roller coaster

Bryan returned the favor and co-penned “I Just Want You,” off Swindell’s self-titled debut, which went to No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

7. “Summer Forever,” Billy Currington (2015)
Written by Cole Swindell, Brian Kelley, Tyler Hubbard, Jesse Frasure, Jared Johnston

Closing Billy Currington‘s sixth album, Summer Forever, is the slower-moving title track. Co-written by Florida Georgia Line’s Hubbard and Kelley, along with Swindell, the song was one Currington said represented “a positive, happy, good time lifestyle,” something he hoped radiated throughout the entire album.

Ain’t ready for the leaves to change
Don’t wanna get off this swing
No I ain’t jealous
When the sun’s kissing on you

Baby, it’s that southern wind
Baby, it’s your perfect skin
That’s killing me
Through the holes
In your silver boots

Photo: Robby Klein / Warner Nashville

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