Colter Wall makes triumphant return to Lyric Theatre stage
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.”