Colter Wall / Ian Noe @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
A few months back, I was listening to my favorite singers and songwriters through my favorite music app. As I often do, I scrolled down to the “recommended for you” section and saw the name, Colter Wall. His cool name was intriguing enough for me to research this guy a little further. As I went down the Colter Wall rabbit hole, I discovered he is a Canadian born singer/songwriter. He is 22 years old. His musical influences include the likes of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. And this guy is really, really good at what he does!

I also found out I’m not the only one digging Wall’s music. Songwriting legend, Steve Earle, quipped Wall is the best young singer/songwriters he’s seen in twenty years. Not a bad accolade for a guy that released his first EP in the middle of 2015 and his first full length album in May of this year. The songs Wall writes are said to be autobiographical, leading one to believe this guy is much more mature than a 22-year-old should be. The topics of shooting an unfaithful wife, codeine, and a drunken encounter with a Canadian Mountie are all covered by Wall.

Being a grassroots performer, Wall is putting himself out there anywhere he can. Luckily one of his stops included a sold-out show in St. Louis at Off Broadway. Talent is often said to surround itself with talent. Ian Noe is that said talent! Noe, cut from the same mold as Wall, opens the show with a powerful voice and a guitar full of soul. If you weren’t at this show to listen to the music, it was immediately evident that you needed to leave. As two patrons near me had a heated discussion about the need to remain quiet while Noe was onstage.

Noe brings it all together with his reimagined version of Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”. I can’t fathom nothing but a bright future for Mr. Noe. In covering live music for the past six years for MTC MAG, I’ve learned one thing, some nights you know you’re going to see something special!  It may be a sixth sense I’ve developed but tonight was gonna be one of those nights! The hoots and hollers when Colter Wall strolled across the stage confirmed what I was thinking!

The walked down chords of “13 Silver Dollars” and Wall’s raspy baritone delivery prove to be a powerful opening that was appreciated by everyone in the room! A rousing spin on the classic “Wabash Cannonball” receives a big applause for it’s mention of St. Louis. Colter’s show is dotted with nods to some of favorite songwriters with covers of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ride me Down Easy” and Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother”.  These treasured covers were just a compliment to Wall’s own solid collection of songs and stories.

To put in perspective of how the gospel of Colter Wall is spreading, here is part of a conversation I had with a fan. “It was a toss up between driving an hour and half to St. Louis or driving three hours to see him in Indianapolis.” That my friends is a big fan. Wall’s songs are like a good book, they pull you in, just to see if the outcome will be different than the beginning. An audience member in a Colter Wall YouTube video sums it up best, “Shut the fuck up and listen everybody, this man's got something you need to hear!”

The haunting build of the murder ballad, “Kate McCannon”, seemed to grab ahold of everyone in the room. I don’t think a single word was uttered during this song. An all too short set ended with Wall’s biggest success from his self-titled debut album, “Sleeping on the Blacktop”. A persistent audience ranging from 7 to 70 began calling for Wall’s return to the stage but to no avail.  A good way to judge how good a show was, is to listen to what people are saying on their way out the door. Not surprisingly, the most heard phrase after this show? “Man that guy is good”. With that I can’t disagree! Thanks to Colter and Ian for allowing MTC MAG to be in the house and thanks to Off Broadway for your hospitality!

Photos of the show are below:

Ian Noe
Colter Wall
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Colter Wall / Ian Noe @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO Colter Wall / Ian Noe @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on December 06, 2017 Rating: 5
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