Dallas Green's new album under the City And Colour moniker is a bit of a breakthrough for the beloved, Canadian Songwriter. No longer siphoning time between his personal songwriting outlet and Alexisonfire, The Hurry and The Harm freed Green up to make what might be his most honest record to date. He isn't torn, he isn't answering to other creative responsibilities his hearts just not in anymore. He's creating music in the most natural and sincere way he knows, staying true to the City And Colour musical identity for the first time.
A few weeks back we sat down with Dallas at The Lomography Gallery Store in NYC to discuss the new found freedom to create that's at the heart of The Hurry. We also got to hear a few tracks, including simple yet stirring renditions of "Two Coins", "Of Space And Time" and his newest single "Thirst". It's a candid and revealing interview and performance pairing, casting a light on an incredible musician at an pivotal turning point in his career.
leaving Alexisonfire. I wrote that song while I was on tour, on the last American tour that Alexisonfire did, on a day off, I was by myself. I was off somewhere else and I wrote that song that day and I tried to record it for "Little Hell" and I couldn't. It was like having an arm wrestling match with it, like, just every time we tried to lay it down, it wasn't feeling right and you can listen to it and you can, now that I've told you that, if you go back and listen to it, you can see, like, you know, the whole elephant in the room. There's a murder of crows Flyin' high overhead On this desolate road Well I tend to forget About you and I And I fight to survive Through this thunderous life When we're not side by side I'm roamin' through the hills All alone I'm tryin' to find my direction home A question of space A matter of time I follow the stars until the first light I don't know what drugs to take To successfully alter the state That my mind has been in as of late Something is beating away at my brain There's an elephant in the back of the room And it's standin' in plain view Everyone can see That it looks just like me I'm roamin' through the hills All alone Tryin' to find my direction home A question of space A matter of time I follow the stars until the first light I will not call this road home Though it is all I know I will not call this road home Though it is all I know I'm roamin' through the hills All alone I'm tryin' to find my direction home A question of space A matter of time I follow the stars until the first light bands, like, the two creative sides, really just allowed the songs, whatever songs were willing to come out of me, to sound, you know, to sound a little bit dramatic, to come out. And I think what it allowed to realize is that I did make the right decision, because what I was worried about, mostly, if I were to stay with Alexis, was that my mind wasn't going to be there, creatively, for that style of music anymore, at least, not at this point, and I would have been forcing myself to try and come up with songs for that band. Whereas, touring on Little Hell and knowing that and, like, finishing up and having all these new songs that were in the vein of what would become "The Hurry and The Harm, " made me realize that that's where my musical outlet is going, you know, at this point. "Two Coins" is a song. It's very special to me. It's my favorite song on the record and I wrote the melody and the chorus years ago, but I just sort of couldn't figure out where I wanted to go with the verse and then I actually wrote that, finished that song in a dressing room, on tour, in Milwaukee, after a particularly bad stretch of days in my life. Just sort of losing my way a little bit, as you can, in this business. Before you make a record you have visions of what the songs will be and what they'll sound like. And rarely does that ever come out, you know. Things change a lot and, obviously, it's very difficult to get exactly what you're hearing at the moment in your head out and when I listen to "Two Coins, " it sounds exactly like I always imagined it would sound. Northwest is where I'm headin' Underneath the golden sky I'm searchin' for wisdom That every man seeks to find I've got wicked thoughts a brewin' Many evil deeds I've done I'm lookin' for a reason For a reason not to run 'Cuz I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance I've got no destination No place to call my own I'll explore the constellations 'Til I find the course I'm meant to host But come fever or come famine Come the biting winter cold Just put two coins upon my eyelids So I can pay the boatman's toll 'Cuz I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance I've been so unforgiving Stranded in old traditions I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance I've always been dark With light somewhere in the distance - Yeah, I have a new record. It's called "The Hurry and The Harm, " and it comes out in June. It's my fourth record under the City and Colour moniker and I'm very excited about it, I'm very proud of it. I think there's a very particular reason that the record was made so soon after "Little Hell, " and that's because it's the first time that I didn't have to go, I don't want to say I didn't have to go, because that makes it sound like it was a chore, but I didn't have an Alexisonfire record to work on in between City and Colour records, which I had been doing for about 6 years straight, you know, back and forth, back and forth. So, knowing that that wasn't there, every time that I picked up a guitar to write, whether it be in between tours or on tour, the songs that came out were just these songs. And so, when I got home, I sat there and realized I had all these new songs that I was really proud of and really wanted to go and record, so... I think what the new record does is it just expands on the idea that City and Colour is whatever I want it to be. It's not just me sitting in a room with an acoustic guitar. And, at the same time, it's not me and it's not a band, it's just whatever I'm feeling at the moment, you know. So, it's a very full record. There's, you know, lots going on. It's the most full band produced record I've ever made. "Thirst" is an interesting song because I actually initially wrote it for someone else. It was the very first time I'd ever done that. I was approached, you know, via e-mail, by some people that a certain artist, you know, was looking for songs, or their representation was looking for songs for them. And I had never really tried to do that before. I never thought I would be able to write a song for somebody else, 'cuz my songs are pretty personal. So I replied back and said, "I can't do that, " and then an hour later I replied with, "I wrote a song. " Then I sent it off and we never heard anything from it, so I just assumed that they didn't like it or... But then as time went on, I started to really like the song and then started to come up with the idea that it could build into this really fun groove, which is on the record as, you know, it's a full band kind of soulful, rockin' song. Yeah, but it's funny because then I, a little while later, I ran in to the person that I was supposedly writing the song for and I said, "Did you ever hear that song that I wrote for you?" And she was like, "What song?". And I was like, "Major labels, that's what that is. " You know? She didn't even know that people were looking for songs for her and that made me feel really good about the fact that I kept creative control over what I do and my best friends are my management, you know? So I wrote that song from like a woman's scorn point of view, that's what I was goin' for. Then it just turned out to be a song that I really liked, which was good for me, because it had proved to me that I don't always have to be so, you know, emotionally invested and connected to my songs, and I can still write a song that I enjoy and like. So... When I think of Fates worse than death All I can think of Was somethin' you said You said we were golden Bright like the sun And now I am stranded Knowin' I'm not the one An ocean of anger Flowin' through me Bloodstained and broken From what I failed to see Just like a snake charmer You led me astray Living in distress Hopin' help was on the way In the midst of a storm Searching for shelter I came upon one single feather A half-hearted wish for something better Gracefully cursed I thirst Attached to the soil I'm dyed in the wool This iron in my blood It's so vulnerable And after I'm gone Once I finally leave You will be left alone To the wolves and the thieves In the midst of a storm Searching for shelter I came upon one single feather A half-hearted wish for something better Gracefully cursed I thirst Gracefully cursed I thirst Gracefully cursed I thirst Gracefully cursed I thirst
Dallas Green will be releasing his 3rd solo album as a singer-songwriter under the moniker CITY AND COLOUR on Vagrant Records. The album titled Little Hell is scheduled for release on June 7th, 2011 and is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the 2008's Bring Me Your Love, which was certified platinum in Green's native Canada. Alternately sparse and inviting, intense and delicate, Little Hell shows music fans another side of Green's incredible songwriting skills, and features some of his finest songs to date.
Little Hell was recorded earlier this winter at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, ON with producer/engineer/mixer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Mars Volta, Death Cab For Cutie). Fans got a sneak preview of a brand new track from the upcoming album when an alternate version of the song titled "Northern Wind" recently made its debut on a special Valentine's Day episode of the hit series One Tree Hill. Green performed on the episode as part of the show's story line.
Little Hell named after the album's title track, a song that explores the little heavens and little hells that comprise a relationship is the first of Green's albums to be recorded and mixed to tape. This sonic move ultimately resulted in the album's warm immediacy, allowing the songs to take on a spaciousness previously unheard in City and Colour albums. The record allows Green to highlight all of the facets of his songwriting, from Blues-tinged rockers to pedal steel-soaked acoustic gems. Songs like "Northern Wind" have a beautiful intimacy, as if Green is in the same room and singing right to you, while "Sorrowing Man" is dark and brooding, anchored by an ominous organ in the chorus. The record also highlights Green's impressive vocal range, from driving a full band on the rousing chorus of "Natural Disaster" or sighing mellifluously on opener "We Found Each Other in the Dark."
Green who has won Juno's (Canadian Grammy's) for ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR (2007), SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR (2009) has enjoyed incredible success around the globe. In addition to fronting rock band Alexisonfire and selling out theaters that hold thousands of people in North America when he tours as City and Colour, Green has a rabid fan base abroad; his City and Colour show at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall in April 2011 sold out in mere hours. He will also be playing select shows in the U.S. this spring, highly anticipated stops at this year's Coachella and Sasquatch festivals. Watch this space for additional info.