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Band Profile: Bassist Wally DeWall

By Paul Miller

Web Content Specialist

If you've been a part of the local music scene in the Harrisburg area over the last decade, odds are you knew Wally DeWall before he joined the fold with the Colt Wilbur Band.  A member of Stealing the Covers, among others, and a staple at local Open Mic Nights in the area, Wally has been promoting local music in the area with integrity and passion that hasn't been seen in quite some time.

Wally started his musical journey at age five, as he started playing trumpet, then evolved to the tuba by his college years, and even teaching himself to play guitar without any lessons.  But little do many know that before taking the job with the Colt Wilbur Band, Wally hadn't ever played bass and didn't even own the equipment.  But Colt saw something in Wally, and knew that taking a chance on him could have a profound impact on the group.

ColtWilbur.com recently had the opportunity to chat with Wally about his career in the music industry, what being with the group means to him, and what his greatest musical moment has been in his life. 

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ColtWilbur.com - What is it that makes you so passionate about music?

Wally DeWall:  Music for me is a way how I express emotion.  If I’m in a sad mood, I listen to sad music.  It’s almost like you have camaraderie with music.  When I’m happy, I listen to happy music.  Music is really important to me and it allows me an opportunity to spread joy to other people.  It gives you a way to interact with the people around you, and on an intimate level sometimes.  I’ve had some good jobs over the years, good paying jobs too, but they never made me happy the way that playing music does.  I feel like our music provides the outlet for me to express my passion.

With the band, I have enough money to pay my bills and get the things I need, and I’m happy.  To me, that’s way more wealth than having thousands of dollars in the bank.  I think these are the main reasons I got into music.

ColtWilbur.com - Tell us how you got into music.

Wally DeWall: I started playing music in 5th grade, playing the trumpet, even though I quit because I didn’t see eye-to-eye with my band director, who now I’m really good friends with.  My middle school band director convinced me to come back, and I started playing the tuba in marching band and concert band.  Due to wrestling, I was never able to apply for the state band (in high school), so my director convinced me to apply for honors band, where I became first chair.  Tuba took me to Messiah College where I was a Tuba Major. 

ColtWilbur.com - How did you go from horns to guitar?

Wally DeWall - Well, chicks didn’t dig the tuba.  This was during the 90s when grunge came out, so I taught myself to play guitar.  I tortured my parents because I would play at all hours of the night.  I also played piano as well. 

Bass is almost like playing a tuba.  I know that one is a stringed instrument and one is brass, but the styles are very similar because the tuba is the bottom end of the band, whereas the bass is the bottom end of rock music.

When I turned 40, I had an infection and had to go to the hospital and while I was there I got MRSA.  I ended up having to have surgery to take care of it.  I got out and the doctors said that they really didn't prefer that you don’t go into food service because this was the type of thing that can hang around.  And this is while I was bartending at Flapjack’s.  The doctor said though, that I could jeopardize customers if I worked in food service and I didn’t want to jeopardize the customers.

So at that point, I thought I could play to make a little extra money.  I was down for a couple months.  When I finally could work again, I thought music might be a good alternative to working in the bar business.  Bartending was fun and helped pay many bills, but I was getting tired of the scene.  It got to the point where it was affecting my personality and I didn’t like that.  I’m a big believer in energy and there is so much negative energy at a bar.  When you are exposed to it for hours and hours on end, it really takes a toll on you and turns you into someone you are not.

So I started playing again and was having fun and I kept getting calls to play for this group or that open mic, and I loved it.  My parents were a very important part of this because of the support they gave and still give.  I mean, they are at every show we play and they really enjoy the music.  When I talked to my parents about this I said, I’m not going to rich, but I’m going to be happy. 

Now, let me be honest, I love playing music in any aspect, but I really love playing with a band.  Sometimes when you play acoustic, outside of Open Mic, I get a lot of interaction when I play an open mic, sometimes you are playing certain places and you are basically elevator music.  You are basically background music.  I like to have more involvement with the audience.

ColtWilbur.com - So how did you end up getting to know Colt and joining the band?

Wally DeWall -  We met at Open Mic and saw each other around the circuit and mentioned that he needed a bass player.  I never really played bass and didn’t own one, but when I saw them play it was mesmerizing.  Stealing the Covers was a blast, but I’ve always desired to play in a band that dropped people’s mouth. 

An interesting moment was when we played the Apple Harvest Festival, we had multiple people come up to us and say, “You are the best live band I’ve seen in years.” 

I think our personalities are part of the reason that this band continues to be successful and grow, because we are real people.  No matter what happens in our future, I don’t think that we will ever change. 

One of the only reasons I ever want to elevate to fame, it’s not the money; I just don’t want to have to change my own strings anymore.

Colt Wilbur.com - What was your greatest musical moment?

Wally DeWall - There’s been a lot.  I think probably the greatest was, I’m a huge Deftones fan.  I’ve always been a fan and I like their sound.  I had an opportunity to watch them play from the side of the stage in Las Vegas at the House of Blues. 

That same night (after a three hour Deftones show), we immediately left there and go to the Hard Rock to watch Guns N’ Roses.  I have a really good friend who is the drummer that plays for GNR now that got us in.  What an amazing experience.  They were doing a residency at the Hard Rock.  So in one night I got to see two of my favorite bands up close and personal for entire full setlists.  It was the most amazing night I've ever had and an experience that remains with me to this day.

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You can catch Wally playing with the band at our full band and acoustic trio shows.  Wally also hosts Open Mic Night at Johnny Joe's Sports Bar and Grill every Wednesday Night starting at 9 p.m.  Whether you want to play some new tracks for a fantastic crowd, or just to continue supporting local music, stop by and check him out!

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The Colt Wilbur Band Excited to Release Podcast #2

By Paul Miller

Web Content Specialist

The Colt Wilbur Band is excited to release our second podcast, featuring frontman Colt Wilbur and Web Content Specialist Paul Miller.

During the podcast, Colt and Paul give a behind-the-scenes look at several songs from the Heart of Stone album, including "George Strait", "You and Whiskey", and includes a live acoustic version of "I've Seen it All".

In addition to discussing the backstory of these songs, Colt touches on many other stories from the history of the band, including his favorite show ever played.

Beyond these songs, Colt album plays a live version of an unreleased track "America", written by local musician Mike Scott.  The song was recorded, but not released, on Colt's first album.

The duo end the show with news about the upcoming direction of the band, including additional information about recording that the band is currently doing and when fans can expect a new album from the group.

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The Colt Wilbur Band plans on releasing future podcasts, with another slated for December.

You can find the podcast at http://www.coltwilbur.com/music or downloaded directly in MP3 format by clicking here.

The podcast is also available on our SoundCloud page:  https://soundcloud.com/colton-wilbur/the-colt-wilbur-podcast-episode-2

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The Colt Wilbur Band Welcomes New Lead Guitarist

By Paul Miller

Web Content Specialist

The Colt Wilbur Band is proud to welcome local legend Ronnie Rhoads to the band as our new lead guitarist.

Rhoads, a veteran in the Pennsylvania music scene, owns Big Riff Studio in Mechanicsburg and has played extensively with bands like Laredo and Hired Guns.

Rhoads also has extensive experience both mixing and mastering music.

In addition, he also played at length with national touring artist Michelle Wright as a touring musician and has been recording music for 35 years, recording in Los Angeles, Nashville, and many other places in between.

In his spare time, Rhoads is an avid outdoorsman, especially enjoying fishing in the summer.

The Colt Wilbur Band is honored to have the opportunity to play with such an accomplished musician and looks forward to the opportunities that come with our newest member.

The next time you come out to a show, be sure to welcome Ronnie to the team!

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The Colt Wilbur Band Releases First Ever Podcast

The Colt Wilbur Band is excited to release our first ever podcast, featuring the one and only Colt Wilbur, also featuring Web Content Specialist Paul Miller.

During the podcast, Colt and Paul discuss four songs from the Heart of Stone album, including the title track Heart of Stone, Color of My Collar, July Midnight, and Thinkin' of You.

The purpose of the podcast is to take a behind the scenes look at the writing process of the songs from the album, as well as looking at specific elements of each of the songs.

Also during the podcast, Colt plays several songs live on the show, including:  Color of My Collar, Thinkin' of You, and a yet untitled and unreleased song slated for release on a new record "somewhere down the line".

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The band recently embarked on a Florida tour, and the highlights were discussed on the pod.  The marquee show, the band's July 4 show on Crab Island was discussed at length as well.

The future of the band was also brought to light, including the plans of a regional tour in 2018 and the potential of a future album.

The Colt Wilbur Band plans on releasing future podcasts, with two more shows scheduled in October and December.

You can find the podcast at http://www.coltwilbur.com/music or downloaded directly in MP3 format by clicking here.

The podcast is also available on our SoundCloud page:  https://soundcloud.com/colton-wilbur/the-colt-wilbur-podcast

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Colt Wilbur Band Ready to Embark on Florida Tour

By Paul Miller

Web Content Specialist

The Colt Wilbur Band is preparing to head south, as they are embarking on their Florida tour starting on July 3 and running through July 14.  The Barefoot, Wild and Free Tour will visit Destin on July 4th and July 14th, Niceville on July 5th and 7th, and Freeport on July 8th.

The Colt Wilbur Band web team thought it would be an excellent idea to have a Q & A with Colt about the importance of this trip for the band.  While they have shared the stage with many amazing national acts, the Colt Wilbur Band views it as an honor to go on the road and experience new crowds in new places.

But this is nothing new for the band, as they toured Florida twice before, most recently in 2016.  But this time, they have the experience of the travel, venues that they've made great relationships with, and fans that are dying for the band to return to the area.

The Colt Wilbur Band is excited to travel to Florida for a third time.

The Colt Wilbur Band is excited to travel to Florida for a third time.

Colt Wilbur sat down with ColtWilbur.com and discussed the upcoming tour:

ColtWilbur.com:  Tell me a little about last year's Florida trip:

Colt Wilbur:  Last year was our second time to Florida as a band. We had hit a couple venues that we were at the first time around and we're fortunate enough to play a couple new ones. Each year it just seems to keep expanding and growing so we're very excited to get back there.

ColtWilbur.com:  Why did the band decide to tour Florida?

Colt Wilbur:  It actually came about primarily due to the fact that Pnut was from there and raised his family there. He is an extremely talented and experienced musician. He has so many friends from either past bands or just being a musician of the area that could help us get in a couple places and get our feet wet. Fortunately every time we would go down, we'd keep getting booked and the gigs became bigger and more frequent. This is going to be our biggest stretch of gigs both in number and size to date for Florida.

ColtWilbur.com:  What is your favorite thing about Florida?

Colt Wilbur:  Being a native Pennsylvanian you really can't complain about the weather. I'm kind of strange though because I do need cold when fall and winter come. I feel strange if it's December and it's not at least 40 degrees outside. My favorite thing however would just have to be the people we've come to meet and now call dear friends. Outside of just the musicality, it's going to be great to see some old faces and hopefully shake hands with some new ones. Southern hospitality is truly live and well.

ColtWilbur.com:  What do you hope to accomplish by touring the south?

Colt Wilbur:  Expansion. Any gig we can take, any town we can perform in, we want it all. Even if we play a show for 20 people and 1 walks away liking us, it's well worth it. It's refreshing to get to play to new audiences where no one has ever heard of you before. This tour is going to be unbelievable in a lot of ways and all we can hope is for the chance to get to do it again.

If you are one of our Florida fans, see us at the following locations from July 3 - July 14:

July 3rd - 30A Songwriter Radio Broadcast Live on the Air - 11 a.m.

July 4th - Crab Island 4th of July Celebration, Destin, Noon

July 5th - Bella Blue Bar, Niceville, 7 p.m.

July 7th - LJ Schooners, Niceville, 8 p.m.

July 8th - Nick's Seafood, Freeport, 5:30 p.m.

July 14th - Funky Blues Shack, Destin, 9 p.m.

Can't make it to the shows?  Follow the Colt Wilbur Band on Facebook for updates and Facebook Live clips from the shows:  https://www.facebook.com/ColtWilburBand/  


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My Opportunity to Speak to an Unlikely Audience

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My Opportunity to Speak to an Unlikely Audience

By Colt Wilbur

Last week I had the opportunity to return to my old stomping grounds of Eagle View Middle School. Although this would be my second visit as an adult, the last time I was there was many years ago in an eager angst as I made a transition to the high school down over the hill. This time, I would be returning to address the 7th grade RB class on my life experiences, accomplishments, and lessons.

I can't tell you the amount of stages I've stepped on with different sized crowds, different levels of amenities, and different levels of pressure that I've been through in my career that I've never even bat an eye at. This time however, was a different story entirely. I was "performing" for one of my youngest audiences to date and somehow I was the most anxious I've been in a long time.

But what would a 7th grader want to hear or comprehend? What would I have wanted to hear by a man coming into my school and speaking when I was 12 years old? As I pondered what to say, I began to even ask myself what would I even want to say?

I didn't exactly pursue a conventional path after my high school educational career. I went to college for all but a month and a half, I've worked in every field and trade known to man, and I play music for a living. The last thing I wanted was for one of these kids to go home and tell their parents "a bearded tattooed man who sings and plays guitar told me not to go to college and do whatever I want."

Colt had the honor to speak to 7th graders in May at Eagle View Middle School.  Colt imparted wise wisdom to the students by sharing his story and telling them to follow their dreams.

Colt had the honor to speak to 7th graders in May at Eagle View Middle School.  Colt imparted wise wisdom to the students by sharing his story and telling them to follow their dreams.

That may be a bit too harsh for a summary of who I am. All I've ever wanted to do was inspire kids to go after what they want in this life. I wanted to step into their auditorium and encourage them to cultivate their passions and their dreams in life, first and foremost. Happiness to me has never been an account balance, the type of car parked out front of your mansion of a house, what kind of shoes you have on your feet, what kind of watch you wear on wrist; it's been peace of mind. To find your passions and pursue them with a ravenous heart.  Kindness, character, and heart cost nothing and are definitely worth more than any currency on Earth.

As they say in show biz, "the show must go on" and on it went. I spoke for about 45 minutes sharing stories, failures, successes, and goals to come. Although I didn't bring a guitar, the class was adamant about me singing a song or two. A guitar was retrieved from the nearby music department and we sang Johnny Cash and Lynyrd Skynyrd together. They even wanted to hear an original tune, which really made me feel unbelievably special. We wrapped up with a "question and answer" session where I answered everything from my favorite artist to my favorite Avenger (It's the Hulk by the way). They then thanked me and I took my leave. A round of applause never sounded sweeter in my life.

This life has taught me a lot and I don't feel like I'm even close to out of its elementary stages. If you're doing what you love, giving it everything you got, and are kind to folks along the way, then that's something to be proud of.

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Colt Wilbur Honored to Play for Tubby's

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Colt Wilbur Honored to Play for Tubby's

By Colt Wilbur

March 21, 2017

I've kept quiet on the matter for the last week or so, but seeing the pictures of what remains of a stage I've stepped on and watched many great bands perform since I got into this line of work really moved me. Tubby's was monumental in getting me started here locally, they allowed a young, unknown kid with an acoustic guitar walk in and play for their patrons on several shows.

Just the feeling of standing on "the big stage" and staring out across a room people, the lights, the sound, the staff, it truly was a venue of its own. What really makes my heart smile is seeing all the musicians, patrons, and especially other clubs and venues stepping forward.  Metal bands, rock bands, country bands, anything and everything that separates us is uniting all of us, and if that doesn't say something about not only the music scene around here but the good hearts and spirits of this area we all call home than I don't know what does.

The Colt Wilbur Band looks forward to supporting the staff of Tubby's with two upcoming benefits.

The Colt Wilbur Band looks forward to supporting the staff of Tubby's with two upcoming benefits.

There are numerous benefits going on within the next couple months, with many talented bands from all walks of life and sounds stepping onto stages for this. I urge everyone who stands on stage, in the audience, or anything in between to be sure to make it out to every one of these shows you can. The people who have guaranteed us a good time, good shows, and for musicians a place to call home need us and it's time to step up to the plate and deliver.

I always tell people "support your local music scene." Being on one side of the coin I've only every thought about the musician end, but without the venues like this, there wouldn't be a local music scene. So I'll amend my original stance and say, "support you local venues". They bring the bands, they get you excited for Friday and Saturday night after a week of work, and they bust their ass on their Friday or Saturday night so you can enjoy yours. Thank you to all the people stepping forward who are coordinating these amazing events, and again, I urge all of you to come support these benefits in any way you can.

Colt Wilbur


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