Singer/songwriter Michael Colton blends carefully honed storytelling with brilliant guitar playing—a skill that very nearly saved his life. After a severe head trauma, the seasoned player redoubled his commitment to his craft, playing five or more hours a day as he recovered. “Somehow, I feel like music healed me better than any medicine I was given,” he recalls. Based out of Los Angeles, Colton carries on the traditions of living legends Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, but has also worked to excavate the virtuosos of the yore, and a few years ago worked with acclaimed producer Blake English to record The Robert Johnson Sessions, an EP of bluesman Johnson’s songs.
A regular fixture on LA’s club circuit, Colton is gearing up to release his latest effort, California Blue later this fall. Marty Rifkin, who’s played pedal steel for Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Jewel, lent his chops to the record, and also served as Producer alongside Steve Trovato, a revered West Coast music educator.
Today, Elmore is premiering the music video for “Won’t Fall Away,” a single from the upcoming release. “I’ve found that the songs that come out really fast from something that’s happening in my life at the moment are the best,” Colton says, sharing the touching inspiration behind the song. “This song came from the birth of my son, and became about my relationship with my wife. One night she went into our son’s room after he was already asleep. He woke up for half a second and put his hand on her face and said “Momma, my love will never fall away from you.” He then fell right back asleep. It was one of those moments where I tucked the phrase “My love won’t fall away from you” into the back of my mind and held onto her while she cried. Later I sat down with a blank piece of paper and took a minute to think about the moment and the writing poured out pretty quickly. I thought I was gonna write about my son, but instead used some of his words and wrote a song about my wife.”
It’s a simple song, rooted in Colton’s rich, warm baritone and driven by his nuanced picking on acoustic guitar. He blends a heartfelt chorus with sharp, funny reminders of a first romantic encounter, “I met you outside in the rain, smoked a cigarette and then you said/the weather ain’t normally this way, but you take what you can get when you’re living in LA.” The video splices together footage of Colton playing his guitar in an elegant train station with a sundrenched reverie—a young boy and girl playing together along train tracks, dancing in an abandoned freight car, horsing around in the grips of young love. Colton takes well worn territory and makes it his own sweet testament to love, laced with a touch of nostalgia and the country cry of pedal steel.