Colter Wall Makes This Austrian Appreciate Country Music At First Avenue


So what does a good ole Austrian boy know about country music? As the cereal says Nut’n Honey. It’s a genre that if it existed at all where I grew, up was very well hidden from radio play. There was some cheesy country stuff going on in Germany that occasionally leaked across the border – see the shining example below, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

When I browsed First Avenue’s calendar the name Colter Wall did not ring any bells. I listened to a couple of his songs and decided to check out his show last night. The audience at First Ave certainly was not your usual hip/cool/rocking mix. Heavily leaning towards country (but without the cowboy hats and belt buckles) with a few alt/punk outfits and colored hair thrown in (is there a country punk scene?) to a guy in a Doom shirt (the original version). The Current’s Bill Deville rounded out the sold out crowd.

Wade Sapp started the evening. Hailing from Florida he now calls Nashville home and is working on his debut album. Self taught, his bio mentions “Like many of his heroes, Wade originally turned to music to mend a broken heart”. He must have overcome that since his second song was about a beer van – or maybe he was drowning his sorrows (hopefully not while driving). I enjoyed his set. It was what I (and yes I am clueless) expected from a country artist. Judging by the cheers and hoots from the audience I was not alone in my opinion.

Set List:  ??/ ? Blues/ Without Her Here / Bleeding Blue / Ten Women / At Ease / Lungs So.O.B. / The Boys We Were / Truckin / Smoke

Colter Wall calls Saskatchewan, Canada home (does that make his music country & northern?). His set started simply with him on stage with his guitar singing a few dark ballads. He may only be 23 but his voice drew an instant comparison to Johnny Cash in my mind. It’s deep mature, almost raspy. He took a moment to get started and some clown had to yell “Freebird” and was promptly silenced by several “FU’s” from the audience. During the first 3 songs you could hear a pin drop in the mainroom. Eyes and ears were glued to Wall center stage.

His band joined him on stage and the pace picked up a bit with “Thirteen Silver Dollars” evoking a few Yeehaws from fans. I did not see a setlist so I’m a bit in the dark about the titles of the remaining songs played. But Wall’s voice and the deceivingly simple music surrounding it captured everyone’s attention for the entire set. I left First Avenue impressed and honestly with a better understanding of the attraction of country music.