By SEAN ROWLEY
TAHLEQUAH — firstname.lastname@example.org
Fans of local music were treated to a toe-tapping country concert Thursday by some home-grown talent on the Northeastern State University campus.
Long enjoying local popularity, but having gained national attention last spring on NBC’s talent competition “The Voice,” the Swon Brothers of Muskogee visited Tahlequah for a concert at the practice field and track adjacent to Doc Wadley Stadium.
“I went to college here, and we have played here many times,” Zach Swon said. “It has a hometown feel for us. It is good to come back and show love to the people who have supported you. We are playing for family.”
Some dimensions have been added to performing since the Swons last visited Tahlequah. The NSU concert was not a gig, but part of a tour.
“Now we see fans in every state,” Colton Swon said. “We just did a show in Tennessee with tons of people. Afterward, we probably signed and took over 2,000 pictures. We’re not just in our backyard anymore. This is nationwide. And we’re not driving ourselves anymore. We’re being driven on a bus. We don’t need to drive 10 hours and unload and load our stuff. We have a lot of great people helping us.”
As much as they enjoy traveling the nation and meeting throngs of fans in every city they visit, the brothers say they enjoy the familiarity of northeast Oklahoma.
“The faces are big for me – seeing all the people you’ve played music with over the years,” Colton said. “Whether family, friends, fans - it’s weird to come to a show with thousands of people and recognizing a bunch of the people out there.”
The Swon Brothers are in negotiations with a major label to record an album. They hope to release a single later this year and the album soon after.
“They want to know what kind of record we want to make,” Zach said. “Lately we’ve been wanting to write some songs in the Eagles’ vein. Songs that are country, but they also rock. They feature harmonies. We do admire the Eagles because they’ve been playing for over 40 years. They’re still touring because everybody loves their stuff. They don’t limit their fan base or what kind of song they sing.”
Colton said the Swons want to invest the same energy into writing songs as their fans have put into showing their support with downloads, and on Facebook and Twitter. The brothers have co-written their songs for years, but that has changed recently.
“We’ve been living in Nashville for over a month, and we are now working with writers who have written some great hits,” Zach said. “It brings your writing to another level. We really believe the songs we have co-written with others in Nashville is better than the songs we wrote all by ourselves.”
Zach said his favorite part of writing a song is hearing the finished product - that it was “like having a big dinner sitting in front of you.”
Colton said he most enjoys seeing the reactions of those who hear the song.
“You create something from within yourself,” he said. “Then you see somebody else enjoy it and tell you they like it. That is a cool feeling.”
Zach said he has performed in Tahlequah more times than he can remember - and that won’t change. The Swons will return to town in the future.
“We haven’t been here in a while, but we haven’t booked ourselves since ‘The Voice,’” Zach said. “We work with William Morris in Nashville and they told us that Oklahoma has flooded them with calls telling them they want us to come back around. That makes us feel awesome. It tells us we’re loved and that our state supports us. I am sure we’ll be around quite a bit.”
Colton said the brothers take every opportunity to thank their fans.
“A lot of people and the good Lord have changed our lives,” he said. “From both of us we say to them that we love them and God bless all of them.”
Performing since childhood, the Swon Brothers earned national recognition when they finished in third place on the fourth season of NBC’s “The Voice.” They have held a regional following for several years, releasing their first professionally recorded album, “Another Day,” in 2009. Their latest album, “Set List,” was released in August 2012.
The Swon Brothers concert was arranged by the Northeastern Activities Board at NSU. Attendance was about 2,500.