Colter Wall, Little Songs Review
Echoes of the Prairie: An Intimate Review of Colter Wall’s ‘Little Songs
Imagine strapping on a pair of worn-in boots and embarking on a journey across the vast grassland plains of rural Saskatchewan – that’s the essence of Colter Wall’s Little Songs. It’s not just a collection of songs; it’s an expedition through soundscapes, a multi-sensory exploration of Wall’s homeland of Battle Creek – a region known for its harsh realities, simple pleasures, and indomitable spirit.
Commanding the narrative with rich vocals and acoustic guitar is Colter Wall, alongside the multi-instrumentalist magician and co-producer Patrick Lyons, who weaves a mixture of sounds with everything from pedal steel to classical guitar. Anchoring this sonic journey, we find Jason Simpson’s sturdy basslines, with Jake Groves’ emotive harmonica adding a haunting prairie soul, and Russell Bowers on drums, providing a steady, pulsating rhythm as reliable as the prairie heartbeat itself. Together, they form the cohesive unit that brings the profound narrative of Little Songs to life.
Ever wondered what prairie romance would sound like if it were to sing a melody? Tune in to “Prairie Evening/Sagebrush Waltz” and immerse yourself in an enchanting love story on the prairie grass. This opening track, a harmonious marriage of two distinct melodies, one in common meter and one in waltz time, set the tone for Wall’s vivid and immersive musical odyssey.
The album exudes authenticity, tenacity, and a playful dash of wit. “Standing Here” struts with a country shuffle, Wall’s charming wordplay dancing through the melody with an impish allure. Contrastingly, “The Coyote & The Cowboy,” a gripping ballad painting a tale of an improbable camaraderie in the wilderness. Wall seems to query: aren’t we all just lone cowboys yearning for companionship, even if it’s with a coyote?
Relish in the sensory feast that is Little Songs. Savor the harmonious blend of Moreland’s violin, Lyons’ guitar, and Groves’ harmonica as Wall’s deep baritone serves as the rich broth in this savory, sonic stew. And oh, what a delight “Cow/Calf Blue Yodel” is, with Wall’s signature yodeling twirling gracefully over a country western shuffle. It’s a tune that will have you coming back for more.
Colter Wall’s Little Songs is far more than just an auditory exploration of the Canadian West. It’s a layered and dynamic journey that transcends geographical boundaries and delves into the rhythms of rural work and social life, sometimes lively, sometimes introspective. This album navigates emotional territories as mature and heartening as the resonant baritone voice crafting them.
Listeners who followed Wall’s previous work, Songs of the Plains (read our review Here), will find that Little Songs further distill his gift for storytelling. Here, Wall moves beyond the simplicity of his early work and embraces a more nuanced musical narrative. Yet, the core of his music remains the same – a focus on the authentic, the heartfelt, and the real, all underscored by his preeminent vocal quality.
As the journey through Little Songs concludes, you’re left contemplating the grand expanse Wall has journeyed with you, your mind echoing with stories of hard work, camaraderie, and the healing power of a good, honest song. So, if you’ve been yearning for a simultaneous, contemplative, and captivating musical journey, you must ask yourself why you haven’t listened to Little Songs yet? And if you loved his earlier work, prepare to be charmed anew because Wall’s storytelling daring in Little Songs has evolved, becoming richer and more layered, but retains that irresistible charm that has always defined his music. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Colter Wall: Website |
July 14, 2023
La Honda Records/RCA Records