Cole Swindell is buddies with a ton of his fellow country artists, including his mentor Luke Bryan as well as Dierks Bentley and Lauren Alaina. You also see him with famous friends outside the country music world, including recently retired NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Their friendship began with a simple tweet Dale sent to Cole back in 2016 when the singer-songwriter released “You Should Be Here.” The powerful song was written in memory of Cole’s late father, and Dale identified with the lyrics thinking about his own father, Dale Earnhardt, who passed away in a car crash at Daytona in 2001.
As a kid in Georgia, Cole grew up watching both Dale and Dale, Jr. on the NASCAR track. He never expected to one day get to know Dale Jr. under those circumstances.
Cole tells Rare Country, “It’s crazy to think that I grew up as a kid watching his dad. To go from that to losing mine years later and writing a song about it that Junior hears and, immediately, I know who he’s thinking of. For him to reach out to me a couple years ago and say, ‘Hey, I just want you to know, I know what you’re feeling,’ and just to know who he was talking about. He never said it, but I knew exactly. He was talking about his dad. That just shows you, it doesn’t matter who you are, what your name is, how famous you are. You’re just a real person.”
Since that first tweet, Cole has had the opportunity to hang out with Dale on several occasions. He even performed at Dale’s private retirement party last year in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event took place at Dale’s bar, Whiskey River.
Says Cole, “His wife, Amy, actually got in touch with me and said they were thinking about having somebody play, and she thought it would be a great surprise. So, I told my guys, I was like, ‘Look, if we can pull this off, we’re doing it.’ Who can say they got to do this? So, we went up and did it. Kid Rock ended up being there, jumping up onstage with our guys. I was just standing back watching, like, ‘What is going on?’ Billy Currington was there. He got up.”
Cole was on hand for Dale’s final race at Talladega last year, too.
He’s hoping to get Dale and Amy out to a show soon after they settle in with the baby they’re now expecting in May.
Cole adds, “Hopefully everything goes well there, and I can get ’em out a show soon, or maybe I’ll catch ’em at a race. That sport, I know they need Junior. So, hopefully he’s still going to be around in some form.”
Cole also looks up to Dale for the way he handles his career and his relationship with Amy.
“This girl has broadened his whole horizon,” Cole says. “It’s like, you can tell, he’s head over heels for her. We’ve talked about that — just relationship stuff about how it all changed him. You’d think we’ve known each other for a little longer. I don’t talk to him a whole lot, but when we do, he’s just a normal, good guy that I’m glad I had the chance to meet and pull for.”
Cole has a brand-new single out that will change some lives just like “You Should Be Here” did a few years back. It’s called “Break Up in the End,” and Cole is already hearing stories from fans who identify with the song in a deeply personal way.
Cole just shot the official video for “Break Up in the End,” and will follow it up with a brand-new album in the coming months.