With thousands of people watching, a Saskatchewan musician was able to join hundreds of country greats by taking the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Sunday night.
Colter Wall, a country singer from Swift Current, has been gaining attention both in Canada and the U.S., often described as having a unique sound with his deep, rasping voice – surprising when you consider he’s only 20 years old.
A few months ago on Twitter, Larry the Cable Guy called Wall the next Johnny Cash.
The Ryman Auditorium is often referred to as “The Mother Church of Country Music”. The more-than-100-year-old building was the home of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 30 years, and greats like Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Patsy Cline have graced its stage.
Wall was finishing up a tour in the U.S. when he got wind of the show. He was asked to open for Lucinda Williams.
“Crippling fear and anxiety was the first thing (that went through my head),” he said and laughed. “I just couldn’t believe it. To be as old as I am, and to only have been doing this for so long, and somebody says ‘you’re going to open up at the Ryman’, that was something.”
On Monday afternoon, Wall said he didn’t think it had sunk in yet that it happened. He called it a wild experience, and something he wouldn’t soon forget.
Wall said it would be really easy to get nervous in that situation, waiting off-stage for his time, but he had friends with him and he said that helped.
“It’s in the back of my mind that I’ve got to go up there and play, but you know, I was just sort of amongst friends and having a good time.”
As for the crowd inside the famous auditorium, Wall said he was blown away. He called them a “listening crowd” – receptive and responsive.
“It was really encouraging to have that kind of crowd that just wanted to listen to the songs and appreciate the song writing and the music.”
Wall has done a few shows in Nashville now, and he said they seem to have gone pretty well. This was the end of a tour, and Wall is heading back to Saskatchewan this week. He said he’ll be doing a round of shows in Saskatchewan, his “home base”, then likely head back to Nashville.
He’ll be in Regina this weekend, though at a significantly smaller venue than the Ryman – Shannon’s Pub.