For the Swon Brothers, Blake Shelton's mentorship hasn't stopped. The duo say if they had to do it all over again they'd definitely audition for The Voice. It was life-changing in so many ways and continues to be just that.

"Blake Shelton is a friend now," Colton Swon tells Taste of Country as brother Zach nods. "We hunted with him at his house this past Thanksgiving. To trade that mentorship — I mean he really is a mentor. The cameras aren’t rolling and he doesn’t get paid to mentor us anymore."

The country duo finished third on Season 4 of the NBC reality show, and would go on to sign a record deal with Sony Music Nashville and release "Later On." They've since parted ways with Sony, but have released an independent album and have a new EP at digital retailers. Pretty Cool Scars features an aching love ballad called "Don't Call Me."

In recent years reality singing competitions have been criticized for not producing stars, but the Swon Brothers say without the show they might still be struggling.

"If you know our story before The Voice," Colton says, "we were coming to this story for 17 years since we were little just trying to get a 'Yes.' And we grinded it out, played bars, casinos, fairs, festivals. We played nursing homes for crying out loud. And that was a 'Yes' that changed our lives and they were the first to do it."

After The Voice: Country's Most Successful

Coincidentally, a star from a second reality television show has been another key mentor. Opening Carrie Underwood's tour in 2016 was eye-opening, changing not only how the Swon Brothers chose songs for the new EP but also how they work onstage and off.

"She prepares for that stuff," Colton says, referring to her vigorous stage show. "She trains. She’s doing interviews before. We learned just as much offstage as on."

Both Pretty Cool Scars and "Don't Call Me" are available at digital retailers now. This summer the Swon Brothers will keep a full touring schedule while Colton plans his wedding. He got engaged last winter.

Watch: The Swon Brothers Do the Hum-Off!

More From Taste of Country