One thing you can count on is that country music stars will never be shy about their hometown pride. Georgia-born Singer-songwriter Cole Swindell is no exception. With roots in Savannah, Glennville, and Bronwood, Swindell’s Georgia pride shines through his music. But while he spent his childhood listening to the 90’s country greats like Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, he didn’t dream of following in their footsteps until a chance night at a karaoke bar while attending Georgia Southern University. “I didn’t really sing a lot growing up, ” he notes. “The first time I even realized I could sing was at a karaoke bar in college. I got up there, gave it my all, and after that all my friends kept saying, ‘Man, you can really sing!’” Not long after that, in 2002, the future singer played his first show at Locos, a popular restaurant and music venue in Statesboro, Georgia.

Swindell got his start as a songwriter working with such country stars as Craig Campbell, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, and Scotty McCreery. “Lyrics can change your life—they can take you back, put you somewhere else, make you feel something,” Swindell says. In 2007, that love of lyrics brought Swindell to Nashville to become a part of the city’s famous music scene. “I grew up in a very rural area, so the big city of Nashville is obviously very different,” he says, “but Nashville is quickly becoming home to me. That said, I’ll always be a Georgia boy at heart because of the values I learned growing up there.”

Swindell at a 2015 show

While his hometown of Bronwood will always be Swindell’s favorite city in Georgia, Atlanta has become a regular stop for the singer-songwriter. So how do you visit the state capital like a Georgia-born country singer? Swindell gave us the inside scoop on. . .

. . . Where to stay in Atlanta:
I usually stay at the Hyatt Place Buckhead. Back when it was open, I did a lot of shows at the Peachtree Tavern, which was close to the Hyatt. I always like being able to walk to my shows.

. . . The city’s best bars:
I’m not really a fan of dance clubs, so when I’m in Atlanta, you’ll usually find me at bars like Stagecoach or Kramer’s.

. . . His favorite place to catch a show:
The best show I ever saw in Atlanta was a Brooks & Dunn show at Lakewood (also known as Aaron’s amphitheater). It’s an outdoor amphitheater and just the best place to catch a show in the city.

. . . The one thing no one should leave Atlanta without doing:
You’ve got to go to a Braves or Falcons game. Coming from Georgia, of course I support our teams, so catching a great baseball or football game is one of my favorite things to do in Atlanta, but they’re great experiences for anyone visiting the city.

. . . The one thing no one should leave Georgia without doing:
Getting some good country cookin’ and some sweet tea, of course!

Swindell is headed back to Georgia for a show in Columbus on February 23, 2017. See more tour dates here.

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