Good luck spotting which songs on Colter Wall’s new LP Songs of the Plains are originals and which are covers. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s new tune, “Plain to See Plainsman,” happens to be his own composition, but it sounds beamed in from a bygone era.
That “Plain to See Plainsman” was written by Wall is particularly appropriate, however. “This plain to see plainsman is long for home,” he sings on the refrain, which is a typically plainspoken way of summing up the new album, which collects several country classics from north of the border. In short, Songs of the Plains is intended as a tribute to Wall’s home country, and in his own spare, unadorned fashion, he makes clear that wherever he goes “the rustle of wheat fields start calling [his] name.”
As a point of contrast, “Calgary Round Up,” the first song to be premiered from Wall’s sophomore full-length, was written by Wilf Carter. If anything, its swinging beat sounds more of-the-moment than “Plan to See Plainsman,” which relies on no further accouterments than Wall’s earthen baritone and finger-snapped guitar strings.
The 11-track collection comes out October 12th, via Young Mary’s Record Co. and Thirty Tigers. Produced by Dave Cobb, it includes country some ringers in the lineup, like pedal steel ace Lloyd Green, drummer Chris Powell, and Willie Nelson’s longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael. Wall will appear at Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, on July 28th.
The full track list to Colter Wall’s Songs of the Plains:
1. “Plain to See Plainsman” (written by Colter Wall)
2. “Saskatchewan In 1881” (written by Colter Wall)
3. “John Beyers (Camaro Song)” (written by Colter Wall)
4. “Wild Dogs” (written by Billy Don Burns)
5. “Calgary Round-Up” (written by Wilf Carter)
6. “Night Herding Song” (Cowboy Traditional)
7. “Wild Bill Hickok” (written by Colter Wall)
8. “The Trains are Gone” (written by Colter Wall)
9. “Thinkin’ on a Woman” (written by Colter Wall)
10. “Manitoba Man” (written by Colter Wall)
11. “Tying Knots in the Devil’s Tail” (Cowboy Traditional)