By Ashley Bennett
With over five years in the music business and three successfull albums, Dallas Green of City and Colour is hardly a newbie on the music scene, not now or when he was previously jamming with Alexisonfire. During his career, this one-man band has won various awards including Chart magazine’s 2006 Artist of the Year as well as Alternative Album of the Year in 2007 and Songwriter of the Year in 2009 at the Juno awards (think the Canadian version of the Grammys). Green has made the most of his music career, touring all over the world from London to Australia, but he took some time out of his busy touring schedule to sit down and discuss his music and the release of his newest album, Little Hell.
Despite coming out less than a year ago, Green went old school and recorded his latest album entirely on analog tape. “I wanted it to sound very natural and very real . . . I’m very proud of it.” The end result is a raw and knitty gritty sound that works well with Green’s amazingly layered harmonies—which he does all by himself—to create songs that seem to float out the speakers, despite sometimes dealing with really heavy emotions. But therein lies the appeal, and it’s something Green takes pride in. “I write songs about myself, about my personal experiences, but I try to make it relatable. You don’t need to know exactly what the person is talking about; you just need to pull some emotion from it.” Green’s mix of folk, rock, blues and country manages to take one person’s experiences and expand them so that every member of the audience feels included, almost like one giant group hug. “I want it to feel like you are hanging out with a group of friends,” he says when describing his shows. “I don’t use special effects or tricks. I don’t think it makes the music better.”
Critics can’t get enough of the intimate environment one man manages to create with nothing more than a guitar, some keyboard and 31 years of emotional baggage to draw from. And fans love it so much, they can’t wait to show Green their appreciation for what he does. Those that don’t come up and tell Dallas how much he changed their lives offer up their prosthetic limbs for him to sign—true story!
If you find your interest peaked and your heartstrings ready for a bit of a pull, I recommend starting with the title track from the newest album. Title track “Little Hell” tells the story of a couple facing all the ups and downs that naturally come with any relationship. Do they work it out? Can they stay together? Give it a listen and find out for yourself! Or you can check out Dallas Green’s favorite song, “Hope for Now.” “Musically, it has so many different aspects that I like: quiet harmonies and then a loud crashing ending with lots of drums. But also, the lyrics: It talks a lot about . . . just being unsure and doubting yourself. There’s this one line ‘How can I instill such hope, but be left with none of my own.’ And that’s true . . . I’m still always wondering if what I’m producing is good enough. But I think that wondering is good.”
City and Colour at The Fox Theater,301 S. Garey Ave., Pomona; www.foxpomona.com; cityandcolour.ca. Fri, Nov. 4. 8PM.