Colter Wall

Colter Wall

Ian Noe

Sat, Nov 03, 2018

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Higher Ground Ballroom

$20 advance | $23 day of show

This event is all ages

Colter Wall
Colter Wall
After two years of relentless touring, Colter Wall wanted to make an album about home. Drawing on the stories of Saskatchewan, Canada, the young songwriter’s corner of the world takes shape throughout his second full-length album, Songs of the Plains. Produced by Dave Cobb in Nashville’s Studio A, the project combines striking original folk songs, well-chosen outside cuts, and a couple of traditional songs that reflect his roots growing up in the small city of Swift Current.

“One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years, in the United States and playing in Europe, is that people all over the world really don’t know much about Canada at all,” he says. “When you talk about Saskatchewan, people really have no idea. Part of it is because there are so few people there. It’s an empty place—it makes sense that people don’t know much about it. But that’s my home, so naturally I’m passionate about it. With this record, I really wanted people to look at our Western heritage and our culture.”

Indeed, Wall captures the spaciousness of the Canadian plains by relying on minimal production and his resonant baritone, which he’s strengthened into a mighty instrument in its own right. It’s a deep and knowing voice you wouldn’t expect of a man who’s not yet 24 years old.

Songs of the Plains begins with “Plain to See Plainsman,” a sincere portrait of a man whose rural heritage follows him into the greater world. As Wall lists the kinds of people he meets on the road – beautiful women, bikers, junkies, hippies—it’s easy to imagine the autobiographical component. The darkly comical “Saskatchewan in 1881” recalls a stubborn encounter between a Toronto businessman and a steadfast farmer who cultivates the province’s land. And although Wall racked up a body count on his prior album, this time he stops just short of killing the title character in “John Beyers (Camaro Song),” which he says is inspired by true events.

Evoking the most remote reaches of the plains, “Wild Dogs” sounds like a cinematic Colter Wall composition, but he actually first heard the song in Little Rock, Arkansas. Wall had just finished soundcheck in the fried chicken restaurant where he had a gig, when his buddy Ron Helm (nephew of Levon Helm) dropped in with Billy Don Burns, an esteemed songwriter who’s had cuts with many of the country legends of the 1970s. Burns wanted to pitch a few songs, and since the restaurant didn’t have a green room, Wall crawled into Burns’ backseat to listen. He found himself captivated by “Wild Dogs,” which has a minor-chord progression, no rhyme scheme, and the unique perspective of being told from the dog’s point of view.

As a folk singer, Wall places equal importance on crafting songs as well as carrying older songs into the present day. “To me, a folk singer is somebody who sings folk songs—and it’s also someone who is writing their own music, while taking something from traditional folk songs. It’s somebody who sings those songs and is aware of passing down the traditions, whether it’s from their own version of the song or taking those old tunes and reinventing them.”
Venue Information:
Higher Ground Ballroom
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403
http://www.highergroundmusic.com/