11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Swearingen & Kelli

Sweringen & KelliSwearingen & Kelli (AJ and Jayne) have released the title track and second single from their upcoming album “Cold-Hearted Truth” which will be out on September 20th. You can watch the beautiful new video for the song right here, right now. The song was inspired by the music of Buddy and Julie Miller and like the Millers, Swearingen & Kelli write songs that both Americana and classic Country folks will enjoy.

“Cold-Hearted Truth” will be their third album, but the first for which they wrote most of the songs together. A few years ago, they also released a cool cover of Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle.” You can hear all their great stuff over at Spotify like I did before you go and buy it! Together these two make some great gentle and soul-searching Sunday morning music.

I thank AJ and Jayne for joining in on the 11 Questions fun. The duo is out on the road right now but will be in my home town of Franklin of September 27th at The Legendary Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, one of the coolest places around that you may have never been to. Later this year they will be supporting the great David Bromberg on some dates in Texas.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

AJ – I grew up in Bethlehem, PA. We moved to Nashville about a year and a half ago. We escaped Hurricane Irma and drove all the way to Franklin, TN to take refuge with some friends here. We knew we wanted to live here. We also felt the time was right for the music we were writing and recording.

Jayne – I was born and raised in Lapeer MI. AJ and I moved here by way of St. Petersburg, FL, where we met. I used to wear boots and jeans in the 90-degree heat in Florida and people would laugh (I hate shorts and flip flops). We love being centrally located for travel too, and Nashville has a great airport.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

Jayne – My first CD I bought that wasn’t a birthday or Christmas gift was Radiohead’s OK Computer. The most recent album I bought was Joy William’s Front Porch on digital download. She has this beautiful song she wrote for her father called “Preacher’s Daughter”. It took her a while to write it after he passed away, and I’m having that same issue since losing my father. I just can’t get the right song together. I find her song incredibly inspiring.

AJ – My mom was always spinning classic country records in the house. All the best albums were within reach for me. Thanks, Mom, for a great musical education! The last album I purchased was my own album online to make sure the website worked. It works! Go ahead and get it!

What are your first and last concerts?

Jayne – My first concert was Janet Jackson in the ’90s. I was little and still have that t-shirt! I saw Sturgill Simpson and John Prine at the Grand Ole Opry last month.

AJ – I can’t remember my first concert so It probably wasn’t very good. I tend to go see shows at clubs around town. By the time you read this I will have seen a few other shows so it will be inaccurate information. We saw Mo Pitney at The Local last week. Some real country!

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

AJ – Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard for starters.

Jayne – Alison Krauss

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Jayne – I go to The Well for my coffee.  Brixx for pizza that is gluten and dairy free! I just ate there two days in a row last week.

AJ – I’m a bit of a coffee snob so I make my own pourovers at my house. Brixx has half-off bottles of wine on Sunday.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Both – Impossible question. So many great albums, but we’ll say probably something before 1980.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

Jayne – Having a limited diet, I usually eat a protein bar in the car.

AJ – If we are close to home or have a stove in the hotel, then I usually cook, it’s open 24/7.

Jayne – And, he’s a great chef, too.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

AJ – She better pick me as one of them. I would pick Jayne and then the writers with the biggest fan bases. Just kidding. You can’t order a pizza in this town without talking to some great songwriters. It’s impossible to pick.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

Jayne – We’re looking forward to the Grand Ole Opry. Someday please!

AJ – I’ve played the Schermerhorn with the Nashville Symphony. Fantastic venue.  Being relatively new to town we actually haven’t played all the other cool places. We hope to play the legendary Station Inn sometime. The walls talk in that place.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Jayne – We’d like to see our drummer Josh Kanusky move here!

AJ – Don’t you mean, musicians to move out of here? Just kidding. She said it. Our drummer Josh who lives up in the Northeast. He’s fantastic, and it would be great to have him around.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

AJ & Jayne – Releasing and touring with our new album, Cold-Hearted Truth. We love to write, record and of course perform live for nice people. We hope we continue to be some of the lucky ones to do this for years to come. This is something we don’t take for granted.

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