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Get to know: The Swon Brothers and Bassel and The Supernaturals

Posted On Sep 15, 2020, 12:05 PM by Dara Hogan
The Swon Brothers                                                     Bassel and The Supernaturals

Before you come to the Holland Center Outdoors for two days of free live entertainment, get to know some of the artists who will perform! The country duo, The Swon Brothers perform on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 PM. The soul and funk band Bassel and The Supernaturals perform on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 7 PM. In a Q & A, the artists tell us what inspires their music and the challenges they’ve faced as artists but first take a peek at their music videos. 

The Swon Brothers 
In 2013 The Swon Brothers became the first duo to make it to the season finale of “The Voice.” The country music duo recently released their first single “What Ever Happened.” Check out the music video to their hit song "Later On." 

Q: How was it competing in “The Voice?”  
Colton Swon: Competing on ‘The Voice’ changed our lives forever. The national exposure was great but the best part was getting to know Blake Shelton and having him become our big brother and mentor. 
Q: What’s life like as ‘brother’ artists?  
Zach Swon: As brothers go, we have a pretty close bond. We both feel very fortunate that we get to do what we love for a living with our best friend. He’s got my back and I got his, that’s just the way it is.” 
Q: When did you first discover that you wanted to do music together?  
Zach Swon: We actually grew up in musical family and performed with our parents who had a Christian band, so we were on stage as soon as we could walk and talk. I was only seven years old when I started playing drums in the band and Colton was five when he started singing professionally on stage. We just naturally knew we wanted to do this for a living.  
Q: Who or what inspires the music you produce?  
Zach Swon: We’ve had a lot of different musical influences over the years, from Merle Haggard to The Eagles.   
Bassel and The Supernaturals  
Bassel and The Supernaturals tells the story of Bassel Almadani’s experience as a first generation Syrian-American using soulful melodies, funk inspired grooves, and captivating lyrics regarding love, loss, and war in Syria.  Watch their music video "Smoke" from their 2020 album "Smoke & Mirrors." 

Q: What’s one incident or challenge that you’re willing to share as a first-generation Syrian-American that’s shaped you as an artist?  
Bassel Almadani: On our way to South by Southwest (SXSW) a few years ago we stopped in Wichita, KS to perform at the First UMC. We played briefly in their morning service to promote our concert that evening, and after the service there were a handful of attendees that stopped by our table to chat. The conversation started out very sincere: "My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in Syria dealing with this war" ...I bowed my head to thank her, as she went on to say "They truly deserve a home somewhere safe ... Not here, but somewhere." 

That experience has never left me. I've been sharing my soul with audiences for years in an effort to humanize the refugee and immigrant population - and it never occurred to me how even those who consider themselves as religious can silo themselves to the extent of believing that others don't deserve the same fundamental human rights as they do.

Since that moment I realized that you can only control what's in front of you. Xenophobia is deeply rooted, and it's a lifelong journey to confront - and I chose to jump in the driver's seat. 

Q: How and when did The Supernaturals begin?  
Bassel Almadani: I was a solo singer/songwriter for years before moving to Chicago in 2010. I released an album that summer, and shortly after the tour I was invited to open a charity show with The Counting Crows & Augustana in Columbus, Ohio. I jumped head first into the Chicago scene to form the full band (Bassel & The Supernaturals) and continued on from there to collaborate with many incredible musicians over the years.  

I found a particularly strong creative connection with our guitarist (Brandon Hunt) and our late bassist (Mason Cormie). which eventually led to our first full-length LP, Elements, in 2017. The album featured top talents across Chicago and led to our involvement in the ContraBanned: #MusicUnites showcase at SXSW 2017, international media coverage, and over 300 shows across the country.  

I've been blessed to collaborate with many incredible artists since then inside and outside of the studio - including today's cast in Omaha: Jackson Kidder, Ben Phillips, Michael Gore, Brandon Hunt, and myself (Bassel Almadani). 

Now that you know more about The Swon Brothers and Bassel and The Supernaturals, be sure to grab your place on the green lawn on Sept. 25 and 26 by 6 PM.  The weekend will also include openers from the Omaha/Lincoln based country rock group, Sack of Lions, and Omaha resident and soul artist Mesonjixx.  On Saturday, Sept. 26 at noon, families can enjoy activities by Omaha Circus Arts and Omaha Children’s Museum. For more information, please visit Holland Center Outdoors.