Arriving at the Manchester arena on the 6th of March, I have just read on twitter that there was a new support act added to the line-up: his name was Colton Avery and all I knew was that he was playing guitar and apparently he was quite good.
We arrived to catch Weatherman, which was sadly the last song in his setlist but an amazing introduction to Colton to everyone who’s never heard of him. I managed to record a snippet that night:
I was able to see him a couple times since and hats off for his performance that was spot on every single time. It’s hard to captivate an arena audience with only a guitar but Colton’s powerful voice just makes you pay attention, no matter where you stand or sit. It’s got a bit reggea-like tone to it although his music is more blues than anything.
He has recorded an album, contributed 3 songs to Glenn Beck’s Man in The Moon soundtrack and sang on Especially For You albums. Being from Phoenix, Arizona, Colton has a southern gentleman feel to him which comes right through as he starts answering the interview:
You first played on the UK tour as a support for The Script and they were sold out arenas. Have you played to audiences this big before? Did you have any nerves or do you have any rituals to calm them?
No ma’am. These are hands down the biggest venues I’ve played. Back home in Phoenix, my biggest show was to 5,000. And the first few shows I was extremely nervous. The combination of playing new songs, in a new country, to tons of people definitely had an impact on me, but after the first few shows I settled down. Everyone’s reaction was so welcoming, my nerves aren’t nearly as bad as they were in Liverpool where I first opened.
After a couple weeks you can see some of the audience sing along to your songs. What’s the best way to describe what it feels like?
It feels absolutely incredible. I don’t think it’s something you ever get used to as a writer and musician. There’s nothing better than having people not only relate to your feelings and emotions, but to also have them prove that what you’re doing in the studio is well worth it.
You’re not playing any songs from Waves, the album that’s already available pretty much everywhere. What was behind that decision?
I’ve heard a song, Listen, where you sing with a piano, not with your guitar. Is it you playing? What instruments do you play?
When did you start playing music and what drew you to it? Is your family musical?
I picked up a guitar at 13, so I guess that’s when you could say I formally started playing. Before that however, I was a music addict. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t listening to music, singing, dancing, and playing tennis racquet guitar in my room. So I guess it’s in my bones. As far as having a musical family, I’d say I come from more of an athletic family more than anything else. They are all heavy into sports and many have played sports at the college and pro levels. On the flip side of that coin, my dad is honestly a better singer than I am and was briefly in a band in high school, and my great grandpa sounded exactly like Ray Price from stories I’ve heard. So I guess you could there’s some traces of Musical DNA in my family. If anything I come from a family of music lovers more than anything else. We love listening to music.
Who is your “beta-testing” audience? Who do you show the songs first?
It used to be my brother and sister. They’re both younger than me, so their gut reaction to a song is one I value highly. But as of late it’s been the lads and Jimbo (Barry, producer). Theire opinions mean the world to me, then I go to my family for affirmation… If everyone enjoys it. It’s more than likely an okay song.