Published Aug 28, 2020Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs, the latest outing from Swift Current, Saskatchewan's resident retro wrangler Colter Wall, is a long player steeped in the traditions of the Prairies and the Wild West. Like a dusty old vinyl gem you find in a thrift shop bargain bin, Wall's music is the product of another time. It's a tip of the cap to the classic, unadorned country and western of legendary artists like Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Stompin' Tom Connors and early Johnny Cash with perhaps a folksy sprinkling of Kris Kristofferson for good measure. Wall is an old soul and he knows it — he plays that card very well.
Kicking off with "Western Swing & Waltzes," it's clear that Wall's unique voice is an acquired taste, with quavering vibrato and deep baritone, with the lyrical approach of Sons of the Pioneers and a minimalist instrumental pallet. While the several tracks that make use of a full band are also very enjoyable, Wall's sound works best when he sticks to a "less is more" approach, like on standouts "I Ride An Old Paint/Leavin' Cheyenne," featuring acoustic guitar and harmonica, and "Diamond Joe," adds some fiddling to the mix.
Western Swing & Waltzes continues to underscore the artistry of one of country music's most promising up-and-comers (not to mention the fact that Wall produced this one himself). His care and preservationist approach to each arrangement gives everything an authentic vibe that transports you back to a much simpler time. (Thirty Tigers)