The girl who broke his heart may not be worth a bad hangover, but Cole Swindell is certainly happy to raise a glass of the brown stuff to the troops in his new video for “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey.” Filmed at Nashville’s Silver Dollar Saloon, the clip features a pretty (but scheming) lady as the antagonist and a real-life military veteran, Kyle Davis, who served in the Special Forces in Afghanistan for five tours and was also a fraternity brother of the Georgia-bred singer.
“Because of people like this right here, we get to live in a free country, the best country,” Swindell says after stopping the music to hop on stage, which isn’t actually rude if it’s your own video. It’s an elaboration on the “I’m raising my glass to those saving our ass overseas” line that transforms the song from forlorn anthem to something a little more aware of the bigger picture: that a bad breakup has nothing on those living on the front lines. Turns out there’s still plenty of drinking and glass-clinking done, just for the right reasons.
After kicking off his first headlining tour, Swindell will join up with Jason Aldean, and, since opening for Luke Bryan last year, he’s enjoyed the time to play directly to his own, earned fans. “On my tour, either they’re coming to see me or they’re not,” he tells Rolling Stone Country. “I was in a position to make new fans on the Luke tour, and hopefully those fans I made are showing up for me now.”
Swindell also released an EP, the Down Home Sessions, in the fall, which elaborated on his party-appropriate pop vibes that have lead some to criticize him for his unapologetically bro-country point of view. He shrugs it off. “Country’s more than about what the music sounds like,” he says. “It’s what you’re saying, and who you are as a person.” And a little whiskey doesn’t hurt, either.