It’s been nearly a decade since Colter Wall came onto the scene. Armed with a voice like thunder and saddle bags full of cowboy yarns itching to be spun, Wall has crafted a country canon all his own in just a short amount of time.
Over three studio albums, he has captivated the masses with a sound so authentic you’d think him an age-old troubadour. But Wall is by no means trapped in the past, having made a career of weaving timeless narratives into contemporary hits.
To honor the artist’s unmatched songcraft, here are just 15 of Colter Wall’s immediate classics.
‘Saskatchewan in 1881’ is the perfect introduction to Wall.
As the lonesome cry of a harmonica and the delicate pluck of steel pairs with the artist’s battered baritone, Wall showcases his songcraft, skill and above all, his Canadian pride.
‘Saskatchewan in 1881’ is featured on Wall’s sophomore album, Songs of the Plains, a record riddled with story songs that echo his beloved homeland.
Wall travels southward for ‘Johnny Boy’s Bones,’ a song rumbling with the wet heat of the American South in the rolling banjo’s twang and the tamborine’s bright jangle.
A sweat-sheened banger, the tune is proof that Wall’s country knows no borders. It appeared on his debut EP, 2015’s Imaginary Appalachia, an acclaimed collection that ushered the artist into country’s consciousness.
While seldom one to drop a collaboration, Wall struck gold with his take on the country standard ‘Fraulein’, alongside fellow sensation Tyler Childers.
With little but their two distinct voices to carry the tune, the pair weave a spectral duet of grit and twang.
'Tying Knots in the Devil’s Tail’ is another collaborative effort from the star, who turns the cowboy classic into a rough and rowdy good timin’ tune with the help of Blake Berglund and Corb Lund.
The dusty ditty is a century old, but Wall gives it new life with punchy accompaniment and effortless wit.
From his 2017 self-titled debut, ‘Motorcycle’ finds the balladeer pulling from his folk influences.
He reportedly crafted the tune after revisiting the great Arlo Guthrie’s ‘The Motorcycle Song’ one restless night. He even name drops the folk hero in the chorus as a thundering guitar riff shakes the song.
The opening track of his debut, ‘Thirteen Silver Dollars’ casts a chilling scene with its icy strings and gale force vocals.
The tune was inspired by a real-life run-in with the law, one that resulted in this blistering ballad of hard knocks and smart-ass remarks.
A country artist must feel naked without a murder ballad in their repertoire. ‘Kate McCannon’ is Wall’s, an ominous narrative that hurls images of a dark-haired woman across a dank jail cell.
The song swells as the story unfolds, by the end becoming a desperately strummed hymn of jilted love and crimes of passion.
Rich in Wall’s rugged narrative style, ‘Thinkin’ on a Woman’ is a forlorn waltz between a road-weary long-haul trucker and the memory of the woman who left.
A loping beat mingles with crying strings for a lonesome lullaby only found at the bottom of a bottle.
‘Western Swing & Waltzes’ sounds at first like frontier folly, driven solely by caricatures of the past. However, Wall’s voice – full of so much pride and conviction – shows no signs of insincerity.
Found on the album of the same name, a record in which he conjures up memories of a time gone by as one track dissolves into the next, ‘Western Swing & Waltzes’ is authentic through and through.
‘Rocky Mountain Rangers’ is much the same. The song heralds the colorful tale of a ragtag Canadian cavalry against a backdrop of emphatic strings and a galloping beat.
Wall, too, trades his stern baritone for a more buoyant croon, tinged in an almost boyish admiration for the obscure historical figures.
‘The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie’ was an early track that first made the world take notice of the star.
The scorched voiced country crooner appears, like an outlaw oracle, through a veil of silvery strums and hollow drum hits. Bewitching from start to finish, the song is all hell fire and Wall is pure salvation.
Many before him have tried, but Wall manages to lasso the iconic Marty Robbins standard ‘Big Iron’ and make it his own.
He naturally strips the song of its Hollywood flourish, subdues the arrangement and lets his spellbinding, seasoned lilt tell the decades-old western tale.
The lonesomely loping ‘Cowpoke’ is a bittersweet ballad, but a gut punch all the same. The melancholy Stan Jones tune paints the highs and lows, the feast and famine, but above all the sheer love of life on the range.
Another from his Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs, ‘Cowpoke’ may be a cover, but it feels more like a glimpse into Wall’s soul.
The threatening ‘Sleeping on the Blacktop’ is drenched in dark poetry; a smoke-stained sonnet about raising hell and the things you’ll encounter on your way there.
While the early tune is a far-cry from his recent bout of western waltzes, it still echoes with the sturdy songcraft he’s carried throughout his young career.
‘Plain to See Plainsman’ is a postcard from home, a song that you hear in your bones and long for the same familiar places.
“Let me die in the country that I love the most,” Wall sings, his aching words rolling over the song’s melody like a warm current across the plains.
The tune is not only an ode to his country, but an intimate portrait of who he is.
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