Colter Wall makes tri­umphant re­turn to Lyric Theatre stage

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Hours be­fore his tri­umphant re­turn to the Lyric Theatre stage, Colter Wall qui­etly slipped into the back of the au­di­ence to catch the fi­nal few songs dur­ing a Youth Talent Show where am­bi­tious young­sters, some barely old enough to reach the mi­cro­phone, ner­vously per­formed in front of fam­ily and friends.

As the small crowd trick­led out he shook hands with well wish­ers who were un­able to se­cure tick­ets to his sold out per­for­mance and of­fered words of en­cour­age­ment to a young singer who closed out the show.

The sig­nif­i­cance of the mo­ment was not lost on the well-trav­elled coun­try/folk per­former who got his start on the Lyric Theatre stage not that long ago.

“It’s un­real, es­pe­cially to be play­ing on this stage,” said Wall of his re­turn to Swift Cur­rent and the Lyric Theatre. “This is where I learned how to per­form in front of peo­ple as a young kid.”

Years ago Wall was a fix­ture at Open Stage where he cap­ti­vated au­di­ences with his cov­ers of “Not in Not­ting­ham” from the Robin Hood 1973 animated movie and Shakey Graves’ “Dearly De­parted.”

“I am so proud of this place and what it has done for this town and mu­sic in this town, not only with live bands com­ing through like the Blen­ders se­ries, but also with open stages like the one we just saw out there. It’s re­ally a great thing and not a lot of places re­ally do stuff like that. I think the Lyric de­serves more credit than it gets for be­ing such a pil­lar of the com­mu­nity here. I am re­ally proud of it and happy to be back,” Wall said dur­ing a green room in­ter­view be­fore his con­cert.

When he fi­nally took the stage to un­veil his de­but full length al­bum “Colter Wall” the room had an en­tirely dif­fer­ent feel and Wall’s long­time fans wit­nessed a much dif­fer­ent per­former than dur­ing his early days at Lyric Open Stage events.

Wall per­formed his open­ing set solo and then brought out The Speedy Creek Band for the rest of the con­cert.

“They are all from the States so they are get­ting to ex­pe­ri­ence Speedy Creek for the first time too, so it’s been fun,” said Wall. “I showed them the house I grew up in. I took them and showed them the rail yard with all the trains. On the way here I Colter Wall played on the Lyric Theatre stage on May 5 in sup­port of his de­but full length record­ing which will be re­leased on Fri­day on itunes.

was telling them about all the grain el­e­va­tors and stuff and all the crops that get planted here be­cause there is so much farm­land on the drive in from Saska­toon. We told them about ev­ery­thing that grows out here and the cat­tle that peo­ple ranch and all the Saskatchewan stuff. I try to give them an ed­u­ca­tion on these things that I have been telling them since I have known them but haven’t been able to show them. It has been re­ally fun.”

His self-ti­tled de­but al­bum was recorded back in Oc­to­ber.

“It’s a pretty sim­ple record. It’s a col­lec­tion of mostly pretty per­sonal songs, true to life songs about sto­ries and things that I have ex­pe­ri­enced on the road and all over. Then there are some that are sort of folk­lore based, folk­tales I guess you might say,” ex­plained Wall. “It’s real sim­ple. It’s real stripped down. Most of the record, a lot of it is just me and my acous­tic [gui­tar]

with a few other in­stru­ments pep­pered in here and there. It is re­ally stripped down, which is kinda my style any­how. The name of the game when we were record­ing it was a less is more sort of ap­proach.”

The al­bum in­cludes 11 songs, two that are cov­ers. “I am re­ally proud of it,” said Wall. “The record­ing process was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent for this one be­cause I was work­ing with a dif­fer­ent pro­ducer. I worked with Dave Cobb down in Nashville at a dif­fer­ent stu­dio.”

They cut the record at RCA Stu­dio A in Nashville.

“It is re­ally cool and kind of mind blow­ing to go into RCA ‘A.’ It is a leg­endary stu­dio and a lot of great records have been cut there, so it was re­ally cool to do that.”

“Colter Wall” is the fol­low up to his seven-song EP “Imag­i­nary Ap­palachia,” which was re­leased in 2015.

“I sort of cut it the same way at the same time. I cut ev­ery­thing pretty much live off the floor. I don’t sep­a­rate my vo­cal and my gui­tar tracks. I play and sing at the same time. We try and just cap­ture it all live as it was hap­pen­ing, rather than get­ting into nit­pick­ing. We re­ally didn’t want to over­pro­duce any­thing. We wanted it to be re­ally raw, which I think we ac­com­plished pretty well. So that has stayed the same, the same way I cut my EP was off the floor.”

“The big dif­fer­ence for me was the songs, the sub­ject mat­ter, and the song writ­ing. The EP was sort of more of a con­cept record I guess. The songs were per­sonal too, ev­ery song I write is a per­sonal song. But these ones on the new record are a lit­tle more ma­ture and a lit­tle more au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal,” he added.

Wall’s record was also bol­stered by the in­flu­ence of Cobb, a Grammy award-win­ning pro­ducer who is noted for his work with Shooter Jen­nings, Sturgill Simp­son, and Chris Sta­ple­ton among oth­ers.

“He is killing it right now and right­fully so. He is an amaz­ing pro­ducer. He is an amaz­ing player. He plays on the record a lit­tle bit, mostly acous­tic gui­tar, a lit­tle ex­tra acous­tic on top of mine,” noted Wall. “He was re­ally fun to work with. More­over, just a re­ally sweet guy. I feel like I made a friend when we went in and cut that record. He is a re­ally great dude, so I was lucky to get to spend some time and work with him as a pro­ducer, mu­si­cian, and a good friend.”

Wall has been tour­ing ex­ten­sively in the United States, but Swift Cur­rent was the first stop of five in Canada in sup­port of his new al­bum. With a Euro­pean tour be­gin­ning May 20 in Brighton, United King­dom, cov­er­ing Ire­land, Ger­many, and the Nether­lands, life on the road shows no signs of slow­ing down for Wall.

“It gets so tir­ing, which isn’t to say it isn’t al­ways fun be­cause it’s al­ways fun and it’s the best gig in the world I think. But at the same time it will re­ally wear you out if ya let it. You have to try and take care of your­self. I say that and I don’t al­ways take my own ad­vice be­cause I don’t al­ways take very good care of my­self. It’s re­ally easy to slip up and get out of con­trol and lose track of your health or lose track of your mind on the road. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is a re­ally fun thing to do if you can do it. I feel re­ally lucky to have this as my full time gig now. I am pretty pleased with it.”

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