Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage
April 27, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT

Country music has a long history of murderous story-songs — just peep the back catalogs of Nashville’s holy trinity of Waylon, Willie, and Johnny — and newcomer Colter Wall aims to join their ranks with his slow-rolling “Kate McCannon.” With a vocal style that echoes the Man in Black, Wall recalls a (fictional) conversation with a raven who knows his secret: that he killed the “prettiest girl in the holler.”

“I’ve always loved the tradition of murder ballads,” Wall tells EW via email of the song’s inspiration. “Songs like ‘Down in the Willow Garden’ [also known as ‘Rose Connelly’] and ‘Little Sadie’ [also called ‘Cocaine Blues’] had a lot to do with the way [this] song is structured.”

Wall — a Swift Current, Saskatchewan native who credits great songsmiths Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, and Leadbelly as influences — teamed up with Music City super producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell) for his debut LP, Colter Wall. “[Dave’s] a great producer and musician, but more over, he’s a real sweet guy, and I’m lucky to call him a friend.”

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“Kate McCannon” is streaming above. The singer has also shared “Thirteen Silver Dollars.” Colter Wall is currently available for pre-order and drops May 12.

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