Who Is Colter Wall? The Young Canadian Singer with a Timeworn Sound

by Clayton Edwards

Colter Wall is a cowboy, songwriter, and country singer from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. That, in and of itself would be enough to go on. However, Wall is so much more than that. Through his music, he introduces a new audience to timeworn songs and stellar but underappreciated songwriters. Additionally, Wall carries on the traditions of Western music that go all the way back to the open ranges and cattle drives of the early days of the United States and Canada.

Colter Wall burst into the country music world in 2015, at the age of 19 with his debut album Imaginary Appalachia. His unique voice and storytelling captured an audience that continues to grow to this day.

Since then, Wall has released three more full-length albums. In 2017, he released a self-titled record. A year later he dropped Songs of the Plains. His most recent release was Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs.

Additionally, Wall has collaborated with other artists such as Vincent Neil Emerson and Summer Dean and has been featured on soundtracks and compilation albums. We’ve gathered some of Colter’s best songs on our playlist. Check out Colter Wall: Songs from the Plains of Canada. While you’re at it, follow Outsider on Spotify for all the best music from our favorite artists.

Colter Wall’s Musical Origins

In an episode of The Converse Cowboy, Colter Wall revealed that he grew up in a musical family. His mother played piano and put Colter and his siblings in piano lessons at an early age. More than that, though, both of his parents loved listening to music. “There was a lot of classic country and western records as a kid growing up in that house. I’m pretty grateful for that because I think it was kind of the subconscious foundation for me.”

Colter Wall started “messing around with a guitar” in his early teenage years. These days, he’s known for his command of his acoustic guitar, but he started on a budget model Fender Stratocaster and a vintage Peavey amplifier. Recalling those early days, he said, “I wanted to be a lead player. I was really big into AC/DC and [Black] Sabbath and stuff like that.”

A few years later, Colter bought an acoustic guitar and his musical tastes drifted. So too did his approach to the instrument. “I got away from wanting to play lead, which is good because I’m certainly not qualified to play lead guitar for anybody,” he joked.

Growing as an Artist

Over the years, Colter Wall has drastically changed the way he sings. The difference between his first record, Imaginary Appalachia, and his most recent release, Western Swings & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs is night and day. About this change, Wall says, “I learned how to sing.”

Colter Wall said that when he started his musical career he was “Really just kind of growling into a microphone a lot.” However, he wanted to be a better singer. Wall said that it took time and practice to expand his range and find a vocal register that was comfortable for him. Looking back on his early recordings, Colter said, it sounds like “a guy who doesn’t know how to sing.”

Colter Wall Helped to Change Independent Country World

Back in March of 2016, Colter Wall met a man named Travis Blankenship. At the time, Blankenship worked at Lowe’s when he wasn’t teaching classes at Indiana University Southeast as an adjunct professor. A friend called the professor and asked him to pick Wall up at the airport and drive him to a couple of gigs in Kentucky. Before long, the two became friends, and not long after that, Wall signed Blankenship on as his tour manager.

Blankenship, better known as Rural Sultan currently manages a handful of independent country artists including Colter Wall and Vincent Neil Emerson. Additionally, he founded La Honda Records with his partner Connie Collingsworth. The label’s debut release was Vincent Neil Emerson’s 2019 debut offering Fried Chicken and Evil Women. Since then, the label has introduced the world to The Local Honeys and Riddy Arman while consistently pushing releases from Emerson and Wall. It’s hard to believe that any of this would’ve happened without Blankenship’s friendship with Colter Wall.