Colter From Speedy Creek
My editor mentioned a performer coming to Vancouver that would be well worth checking out. Colter Wall wasn’t on my radar at all, but the young man who stepped onto that tiny dark stage at the Biltmore Cabaret last Wednesday sure had my curiosity.
Born and raised in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Colter grew up on country music. The outlaws were played often at home, Waylon, Merle, Johnny, the usual suspects. He cut his teeth on different classics though; Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Discovering folk music a bit later, Colter started writing his own songs and soon realized that Canadian audiences are stretched too far apart to make a living touring this vast landscape. Nashville called and he made his way south.
New Name in Town
After three notes, he had my full attention. My inside voice said ‘Whoa”! Certainly not what I expected from such an unimposing figure. In full denim that could have been slept in, black Stetson pulled down low, dusty boots he may have walked from the last venue from, Colter now has the attention of every soul in here. Use all the clichés you want…3-pack a day voice, ..whiskey-gargling raspy voice…mournful baritone…This is a voice that must be heard in person. He is too young for smoking or drinking to have affected his voice, although he is no stranger to either. This is a pure gift, and nothing less.
His lyrics tell stories that paint real pictures of rough times, good times, or rough times recovering from good times in the case of ‘Sleeping on the Blacktop or Thirteen Silver Dollars. Even Kate McCannon tells a story of a love-spurned murder but it’s told in reverse order to give it more of a haunting feel. His lyrics weave depth into the stories even by the choices of words he leaves out. Hypnotically captivating with just his acoustic guitar to accompany that amazing vocal sound. It isn’t uplifting music, for the most part, but I can only imagine how good it would sound with his Speedy Creek Band backing with drums and steel pedal guitar. That will have to wait until next time through town, I guess.