Canadian singer-songwriter Colter Wall is building up quite the buzz. The gravelly-voiced 21 year old recently supported Brent Cobb on his UK tour and has stated that it was hearing Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right when he was a teenager that inspired him to embark on his own career in music. In 2015 Wall released EP Imaginary Appalachia and single The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie. For his debut album, the self-titled Colter Wall, Wall has teamed up with producer Dave Cobb.
Colter Wall is a collection of 11 songs that very much take their inspiration from the country greats such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. When you hear Wall’s voice for the first time, you can’t quite believe he’s only 21 years old. His tone sounds well worn and should by rights belong to someone who has lived a hard and troubled life. Like Cash before him, Wall’s voice evokes a surprising amount of emotion and it’s affecting.
Thirteen Silver Dollars opens the record and it’s perfect. The stripped-down, simple story-telling is something that Wall maintains throughout the record and within seconds of the song starting, you’ll be longing for the good old days of the genre. Wall is the antithesis to the current sound that dominates country music and it’s hard to imagine him on a bill that includes modern chart-toppers like Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
The thing that is so wonderful about this album is its simplicity. The focus here is very much on Wall’s lyrics with the instrumentation serving only to lift them. Wall has a clear knack for songwriting and his observational lyrics paint engaging and intriguing characters. Kate McCannon is a dark tale that’s best described as a murder ballad about a cheating woman.
Codeine Dream, one of the album’s standout moments, is a gentle lilting ballad about moving on from a painful breakup. The acoustic guitar riffs backed by the pedal steel are stirring as Wall recounts his tale of heartbreak.
Elsewhere on the record You Look to Yours recounts very different encounters with three different women, Transcendental Ramblin’ Railroad Blues celebrates the virtue of being a rambling soul, and Tyler Childers features on Fraulein, the tale of the daughter of a German man.
Colter Wall is a surprising record that lays the foundations for success to come knocking. Wall has such an authentic and natural voice for this kind of music and it’s like listening to the lost recordings of some of the country music greats. If this is the kind of material he’s recording at 21, it’ll be fascinating to hear him after he’s enjoyed a little more life experience.
Track Listing: 1. Thirteen Silver Dollars 2. Codeine Dream 3. Me And Big Dave 4. Motorcycle 5. Kate McCannon 6. WB’s Talkin 7. Snake Mountain Blues 8. You Look To Yours 9. Transcendent Ramblin’ Railroad Blues 10. Fraulein 11. Bald Butte Record Label: Young Mary’s Record Co./Thirty Tigers Release Date: 12th May 2017