By Alli Patton
From this latest offering, don’t expect anything different from Colter Wall. Anything different would be a crime.
1. Prairie Evening/Sagebrush Waltz
2. Standing Here
3. Corralling The Blues
4. The Coyote & The Cowboy
5. Honky Tonk Nighthawk
6. For a Long While
7. Cow/Calf Blue Yodel
8. Little Songs
10. The Last Loving Words
From his latest offering Little Songs, don’t expect anything different from Colter Wall. Anything different would be a crime. Across the album’s 10 tracks, the Canadian country artist and bonafide cowboy weaves together a glorious menagerie of his trademark styles, further broadening his catalog of full-bodied western swings and wide-open country waltzes.
However, that’s not to say Wall is some one-trick pony. Little Songs may find the troubadour doing what he does best – lassoing listeners with his succinct yet spellbinding stories of the plains and the well-worn souls who dwell on them – but there is a maturity to his words and an ease to his sound that somehow play different this time around.
With the earnest thumbing of defiant steel and the weathered rumble of a familiar baritone, Little Songs is born. With it, so are the frail shadows of rider and steed, their hunched figures cast across infinite earth, bobbing along to the hodge-podge melodies that play throughout the fleeting half hour.
Up and down the two go, apace with the album’s graceful opening track ‘Prairie Evening/Sagebrush Waltz’, its weepy strings giving way to the sure strums of the spirited ‘Standing Here’. The collection continues on in this way. The delicious pang from a lonesome aria, like ‘Corralling The Blues’, is made all the more intoxicating when flanked by one the album’s irresistible foot-tappers, like the neon-tinted ‘Honky Tonk Nighthawk’.
Wall, an oracle in a Stetson and spurs, delivers each song like an unbreakable cowboy creed. His blistering croon is full of throat-tightening conviction as he warbles out life lessons on ‘For a Long While’ and bellows hard-earned wisdoms on ‘Cow/Calf Blue Yodel’. Even the album’s sage country-folk standards like Hoyt Axton’s ‘Evangelina’ and Ian Tyson’s ‘The Coyote & The Cowboy’ are made all the more compelling when reshaped by Wall’s battered lungs.
The singer-songwriter aptly closes Little Songs with ‘The Last Loving Words’, his parting sentiment – “Goodbye, goodnight / So long my friend” – waltzing along to the harmonica’s wail. The bittersweet tune fades out on the instrument’s quavering cries, and with it so does the vision of the horse and hero, loping off to some prairie faraway.
In the end, Little Songs is a treasure, joining the trove of Wall’s young but already well-loved repertoire. The album may be the “same old" from the balladeer, but let’s thank our lucky stars that it is.
Colter Wall's 2023 album, Little Songs, is released July 14 via La Honda Records / RCA.
For more on Colter Wall, see below: