BARRE – If you close your eyes while Liam Coleman sings, you might find yourself transported to a country gig with a seasoned artist singing songs about love, breakups, friends, vans, and drink.
When you open your eyes, it’s hard to believe the lyrics and voice come from a 17-year-old who is still almost three years away from his first legal drink. If all goes according to plan, he will be on tour and have a recording deal before the first sip of that initial beer.
Coleman, a senior at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Charlton, signed with Marathon Talent Agency in a formal ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Stone Cow Brewery.
The brewery at 500 West St. is dear to the young artist, as it was the first place he was paid to perform, when he was 15 and realized that music could be his career.
Coleman’s first year of performance brought him 63 concerts, newfound popularity, and an audience that could sometimes sing the songs he wrote, sometimes daydreaming in class.
By early 2020, he was playing every weekend until the pandemic hit. He spent more time writing as the virus forced people to stay home.
Peter Strickland of Shrewsbury said people had started contacting him at his Marathon Talent agency and told him he should sign Coleman. Strickland offered to give Coleman some advice when they met in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Him being from Charlton, where my wife and I built our first home… my goal was to help him make sure he was connected with the right people,” Strickland said.
Strickland said he watched and noticed Coleman getting better and better, which a manager wants to see. He loved Coleman’s voice and the fact that the teenager sounded wise beyond his years.
If her singing is one thing, her writing is another. Coleman wrote an entire song based on the stories his father, Auburn Fire Chief Stephen Coleman, told about his childhood in Charlton.
He sings about a ten-cent phone call, the rampaging cows, and the chicken barbecues that populated the summer calendar of most people living in small towns at the time.
“Well, we all think we want more, but the farms and the local pharmacy are gone. This is no longer my father’s town, ”he sings.
The fodder for much of his writing comes from his own experiences, and he believes that at least two of his friends might hear a lyric and realize that they might have had an indirect role in its creation, he said. -he declares.
Now Coleman is also working with writing partners who have been using FaceTiming since the pandemic. They are remote from places like Minnesota and Texas, but they can see each other and they talk for an hour or more during their writing sessions. Coleman said they produced songs he was eager to record.
While signing with Strickland, Coleman said the priority now was to finish his senior year and figure out how to have some safe fun with his friends.
“It looks like everything has been taken away from us,” he said of the prom and other activities of the past year. “So I just want to hang out with my friends before I go.”
After that, he’ll be spending more time in Nashville, in the studio, and he wants to start touring, maybe a few country fairs at the start and eventually open up for artists like Luke Combs, Hunter Hayes, Morgan Wallen or Hardy.
Coleman said his family – his mother, father and sister – have always been his biggest supporters, and he’s not afraid to work hard to make the dream they all share for him come true.
Strickland looks forward to successfully guiding Coleman into the future of country music. He has worked with some of the best artists in the country and said he was recently “in a place where I could bring someone else”.
He decided the artist would be Coleman, noting that even his name sounds country.
“He’s ready,” Strickland said through a mask adorned with the name of his new protégé. “He’s going to be the next big country star.”
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