By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace
This past Thursday night (12/05/19), I was lucky enough to see Colter Wall at the Hargray Capitol Theater in Macon, GA. Over the years, this has become one of my favorite venues and I’ve seen acts like Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan and now Colter Wall there. This was my first time seeing Colter Wall since seeing him at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, FL back in 2017. That place holds about 300 people. I would say he came close to doubling that number tonight. The floor was packed out fairly well by the time the opening act started and the balcony looked about half full. The opening act this evening was Wade Sapp who is a country singer out of Atlanta, GA.
Wade Sapp hit the stage with a full band which was a surprise as I was expecting an acoustic opening act. His full band featured a lead guitar player, bass player and drummer. It was a simple set-up, but it worked. His guitar player Ryan Tolson was awesome and a big compliment to the overall sound. The rest of the band featured Paul Wagner on drums and Adam Higgins on bass. Going into this set, the only song that is truly out there is “Keep On Truckin’” which was released as an “OurVinyl Sessions” live version. Wade played a full eleven song opening set. I’m not sure if this set was the entirety of his debut record coming out next year or not, but it felt like it. Of those eleven songs, only one was a cover. He closed the night with a killer version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs”. Other highlights include originals such as “SOB”, “Beer Drinking Daddy”, “Smoke” and “Bleeding Blue”. If you go to one of the shows remaining on this run, be sure to go early and see Wade Sapp.
After Wade Sapp, there was a short wait before Colter Wall took the stage. He started the show off with a few acoustic songs before the full band joined him. The first song of the night was an old Bob Dylan cover called “Diamond Joe”. He followed that up with one of my favorites from the EP Imaginary Appalacia called “Caroline”. The great thing about this is the crowd got into it and did some foot stomps in time with the song. You could tell this was going to be a fun night.
I was happy that he kept the acoustic intro to “Thirteen Silver Dollars” as that was one of my favorite parts of his set with the Speedy Creek Band. From there he did my favorite of the two songs he released on a 7” record earlier this year called “Happy Reunion” by singer/songwriter and cowboy poet Mike Beck. He also did an extended version of “Motorcycle” with an extra verse written by Blake Berglund. From there he got to the first of several newer songs called “Western Swing and Waltzes”. This was a great track and I can’t wait to hear a recorded version on the next album. I loved the cover he did of Bob Wills’s “Big Balls In Cowtown”. Later on in the set he also did a cover of my Marty Robbins song off the album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs called “Big Iron”. I loved hearing this one live and his band did it justice.
Another new track in this set was a song called “Have You Met My Friend” about Sam Colt. From there he got to one of my personal favorites from his self titled LP called “You Look To Yours”. At this point he introduced the band which consists of pedal steel, dobro and mandolin player Patrick Lyons, harmonica player Jake Groves, drummer Aaron Goodrich, and bass player Jason Simpson. I must say this band fully compliments the sound Colter Wall is creating with a sound that can go from upbeat country to western swing to western folk. Following the band introductions they did my favorite track on the “Songs Of The Plains” record called “Thinkin’ On A Woman” which was the second trucking song of the night. From there he did a cover of the Stan Jones western classic called “Cowpoke”. I love his version of this song and Colter just has a way with these old western tunes that just comes natural. He also has an amazing yodel that really gets to shine with this performance.
There was also a great version of one of my favorite Townes Van Zandt songs in “White Freightliner Blues”. This was followed up by “Plain To See Plainsman” and another obscure cover with Ian Tyson’s “The Coyote and The Cowboy”. Colter closed out the regular set with possibly his biggest mainstream hit in “Sleepin’ On The Blacktop”. The crowd wasn’t ready to be done though and we got an encore with another new song called “High and Mighty”. These new songs sound great with the Scary Prairie Boys and I can’t wait to hear them on a record.
This was my first experience with Colter Wall’s new band The Scary Prairie Boys. It feels like a more versatile set-up than the roots based sound of his original Speedy Creek Band. This band also fits the current direction of Colter Wall’s sound which is including more elements of western music including western swing and folk. Colter Wall and Wade Sapp still have a few nights left in this December run through the southeast. You can find all remaining dates at the band’s website. You can also keep up with Wade Sapp at his website. I highly recommend checking them out and if you do go to a show, come early for an amazing opening set from Wade Sapp.