To call 2017 a banner year for Colter Wall would (arguably) be an understatement. The hype train was as strong and steady as any other up and comer this year, and almost certainly the biggest in country music. Wall’s most comparable ascent would more than likely be that of his frequent tour-mate, Margo Price, when she came through the country and americana scene in a fit of fiery fury way back in 2016.
While Wall isn’t quite as adversarial toward the CMA and the overall country establishment as his bad-ass contemporary, he’s just as captivating to country and americana worlds as Ms. Price. If ever that were up for debate, Wall’s most recent stop by the Mercy Lounge would beg to differ, and put an almost immediate pin in the dispute. Given that Nashville has been called “Music City, USA” (a time or two million), some high profile concert goers have been known to show up from set to set, but rarely in the fashion of Wall’s Mercy Lounge stop. Everyone from Alison Krauss to JP Harris to Paradigm bigwigs, making the set a true “who’s who” of Nashville.
While Colter Wall’s industry recognition is entirely deserved, that’s not what we’re here to examine. Instead, we have the 450+ (or whatever Mercy Lounge’s official capacity is) faithful folks standing shoulder to shoulder, sweating in the balmy sixty degree Nashville December heat, just to catch a glimpse or a wisp of Wall’s dark brooding timbre. For a twenty-two year old self proclaimed “folk singer” from Canada, Wall can bring out a crowd in Nashville as well as any salty dog of the Nashville machine.
As for the show itself, it was every bit an “instant classic” in terms of watershed Nashville shows. The tides had always been strong with regard to Wall’s Nashville backing, but the Mercy Lounge show rose the waters to new levels. Questionable analogy aside, seeing the reverential attention Wall was afforded from his audience was a sight to see, especially when considering his relative youth. But then again, age is just a number, a years spent orbiting the sun mean very little when it comes to talent.
Colter Wall wasn’t much one for words, which served the moments in which he did conversate ever so slightly. His quips were exactly that, quick and to the point. In debuting a new song - “Manitoba Man” - he informed his audience that “it’s a bit of a bummer, so bear with me,” and then went right into the song. Shortly thereafter, Wall prefaced “You Look to Yours” with “this song’s about women, because I figured there weren’t enough of those already.” Like I said, he spares his words, which in turn makes them all the more powerful.
If Colter Wall’s sold out Mercy Lounge stop was any indication, his hype train is nowhere near stopping. One could probably surmise another album will come along the way sooner rather than later, and then he’ll be scooped up by an offer he can’t refuse (but will more than deserve), meaning those packed out Mercy Lounge shows will become fewer and farther between. But hey, if that’s the case, at least we have some Colter Wall at the Mother Church shows to look forward to next, and you better believe those will be sold out too.