by Cameron Patterson
In December, I saddled up my SUV and drove an hour and a half to Columbia, South Carolina to see a young man from Saskatchewan for a honky-tonk show that was fully worth the while. His name is Colter Wall. He is a folk, country and western artist who performs music from the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada. Through my expeditions through trying to discover the greatest of storytellers, I landed on Mr. Wall.
His cowboy and rancher style, combined with his grittiness and poetic writing, I fell in awe of his music, as it captivated my needs for the ultimate narrative. Wall has a way with words that can make the listener envision his lifestyle and feel as if they are living in the tales which he tells. Not only are the lyrics intriguing, Colter Wall carries upon him the voice of a country saint, a voice that makes all the ladies swoon and a voice that could put chills on your spine if you heard it in an angry barroom brawl. He wore a get-up consisting of straight-leg, boot-cut Wrangler Jeans, compiled with a pair of pointy toed cowboy boots, a flannel button-down, tucked in of course, and a cowboy hat.
He is not an imposing character, but rather, maybe under six-feet tall and red headed. He seems just a simple man, and quite polite as well. Throughout the sets, he would sip on a short, brown beer bottle and joke around with his band. The band consisted of harmonica, steel guitar, drums, bass guitar and acoustic guitar. Altogether, the most astounding aspects besides Colter Wall, I felt, were the harmonica and the steel guitar players. Both men played incredibly well and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the crowd and performing together. Through the many layers of the overall show, Wall and his band brought an exhilarating experience which had the young crowd rowdy, hooting and hollering and stomping their boots all night.
With songs like “Motorcycle”, “Thirteen Silver Dollars”, “Sleeping on the Blacktop”, “Kate McCannon”, and my absolute favorite, “Thinkin’ on a Woman”, Wall enthralled all of us with his performance which must be experienced in person. Recordings of his voice do this twenty-four-year-old no justice. He has a deep and strong voice, a pure and rough sound, one that stands out above the rest, and why of course, is that he has important things to say, so when he’s singing, all you can do is listen to the story which he tells so powerfully.
This idea of a strong story, from the concept of telling a short story with few words, since it is a song, naturally it shall be short. To me, a fellow storyteller, this exemplifies the depths of his talents, as it is incredibly hard to tell a story, let alone one with limits. In his song “You Look to Yours”, Wall sings:
“I met a girl in Saskatoon / She was beaming, bold and beautiful / And higher than the moon / Before I could profess she left too soon / The words she spoke were enough to make me blue / She said, I know just what you’re wishing / Two folks in our condition / We’ll never leave this bar room with our pride / So go about your earthly mission / Don’t trust no politicians / You look to yours and I will look to mine”.
After these first verses and the chorus, Wall proceeds to sing of other women he met. The first several lines are pure poetry, slow and steady, and then Colter includes the female’s dialogue, adding necessary depth to the song, making the tale seem authentic and quite intriguing and mysterious.
I would recommend anyone who, like myself, enjoys a good honky-tonk, some blues, and just a good ole’ time, checkout Colter Wall next time he is in South Carolina. If wanted, you can find his music on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, along with music videos, and on his website, www.ColterWall.com. Alongside streaming services, he may also be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
So, If you would like to checkout some new tunes, or maybe you’re a fan of artists like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan, try checking out the Canadian Cowboy, Mister Colter Wall and I promise, you won’t regret it.