By Joshua Wallace
Colter Wall is back with his third full length record titled Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs. This album is following his 2018 release Songs Of The Plains. It leans further into the western motif Colter Wall has been going for in recent years. It is also the first full record to feature his band The Scary Prairie Boys and to be produced solely by Colter himself. Over the past few years Colter Wall has become one of the premier acts singing western and cowboy music and this record solidifies that even further. This record features both original cuts and some choice covers from deeper into the cowboy songbook. Let’s take a look at what you will find in this roughly 33 minute album.
The album kicks off with “Western Swing and Waltzes” which is a perfect intro for this record. It’s a cowboy tune written by Colter Wall set to western styled waltz. I particularly dig the harmonica work on here from Jake Groves. A good harmonica player is key if you’re doing cowboy and western tunes. Another favorite is the cover of the Marty Robbins hit “Big Iron” from the 1960 record Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. I heard Colter’s version of this live and was a big fan of it then and it is perfectly reproduced on the record. I love Patrick Lyon’s pedal steel work on this one and Jake Groves contributes some bass harmonica which you don’t hear often.
Another favorite is the Colter Wall original “Henry and Sam”. It’s a cleverly written tune about a gunslinger with guns named Henry and Sam. It’s a fine example of why Colter Wall is considered one of the best country and folk songwriters going today. Another original tune is “Talkin’ Prairie Boy” which is a bit of a different style for Colter as it is a talking blues song. It’s a story about someone who has never been out west past Ohio and it shows. There is something about the talking blues style and the way Colter tells this story that just grabs you and keeps your interest till the end. It’s a fun departure from the rest of the album. I also love Colter’s cover of Stan Jones’s “Cowpoke”. Colter adapts this tune to his style and I love the interplay of the pedal steel and harmonica on this track. You get to hear Colter Wall yodel here and that is always a highlight as Colter is a great yodeler. Finally, another great original tune is “Rocky Mountain Rangers” which is a tale about a short lived cavalry who were not ready for the dangers of patrolling the wild frontiers.
Colter Wall’s new record cements him as a premier act in western music. This is also Colter’s debut as a producer and he got to make all of the decisions on the record. I hope this is a trend that gets to continue because Colter’s current band The Scary Prairie Boys are a perfect match for his western style and seasoned baritone voice. I highly recommend streaming or getting a copy of Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs when it becomes available everywhere on Friday August 28th, 2020. You can find all the information you need on Colter Wall and the record at his website.
Favorite Tracks : Western Swing & Waltzes, Big Iron, Henry and Sam, Talkin’ Prairie Boy, Cowpoke, Rocky Mountain Rangers
Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs (2020)
- Western Swing & Waltzes
- I Ride An Old Paint/Leavin’ Cheyenne
- Big Iron
- Henry and Sam
- Diamond Joe
- High And Mighty
- Talkin’ Prairie Boy
- Rocky Mountain Rangers
- Houlihans at the Holiday Inn