Music / City And Colour
City and Colour
singer/guitarist Dallas Green's side project begun while he was still in the Post-Hardcore band Alexisonfire
. (Technically, though, he'd begun composing the various songs that would eventually make their way onto the albums since his early teenage years.) The genesis of the act lay in the various demo tapes Dallas had recorded and distributed to a limited extent, which found their way to the internet eventually, prompting various Alexisonfire fans to voice their support of Dallas releasing a solo record. Dallas, not yet certain of branching off into a solo side project while still fully engaged with Alexisonfire, decided that if people liked the demos—some of which were of marginal quality—he'd at least record more put-together versions of them and release the tracks on a solo album. (These songs did not make their way onto Alexisonfire albums due to the fact that the band members had agreed early on that all five of them will be equally involved in the creative process for any songs that would be on the band's albums.) Not feeling comfortable with putting his real name on the record, he came up with the moniker City And Colour
to release the solo materials under. The resulting record, Sometimes
, met with positive reception, eventually going platinum in Canada.
Heartened by his success, Green began gathering and composing material for his second solo record, Bring Me Your Love
, intending it to be less compilation-like than Sometimes
. Featuring a more folksy sound than his debut and a wider range of instruments, the album dealt with much of the similar issues addressed in Sometimes
—life's troubles, uncertainties of the future, the pursuit of romance under these constraints, and hope. The album peaked at #3 on the Canadian Albums Chart after release.
Dallas's third solo album, Little Hell
, was released in 2011. Featuring an even wider musical variety than Bring Me Your Love
, ranging from the solo guitar/vocal work that had dominated the earlier releases to hard rock, the third album also expanded its subject matter, offering emotional self-reflection as well as tributes to family and friends—including Dallas's now-wife Leah Miller, who he married after the release of Bring Me Your Love
As City And Colour gained popularity, and Dallas engaged on more tours to support the project, balancing the workload between Alexisonfire and his solo work became more and more difficult. With Dallas deciding to focus more on his solo act, and fellow bandmember Wade MacNeil also forming a side project solo act, Alexisonfire could no longer actively perform and record. Compounded with unspecified personal problems, this schedule conflict resulted in the band disbanding, with a farewell tour given during 2011-2012.
Dallas's fourth solo album, The Hurry And The Harm
, was released on June 4, 2013.
In 2014, Dallas formed the supergroup-duo You+Me with P!nk
. Their debut album, Rose Ave
', was released in 2014.
Dallas released his fifth record, If I Should Go Before You
, on October 9, 2015. The album showcased a stylistic shift towards blues-rock and had darker palette of sound compared to his earlier efforts.
- Sometimes (2005)
- Bring Me Your Love (2008)
- Little Hell (2011)
- The Hurry And The Harm (2013)
- If I Should Go Before You (2015)
This band and its music provides examples of the following tropes:
- Alone in a Crowd: "Hello, I'm In Delaware" has a few lines implying this, stating that the world is not moving at all from the singer's perspective.
- Alternative Rock: According to iTunes's classification. Dallas says that he prefers to maintain a wide range of genres in his repertoire, which means that City And Colour can't be neatly pigeonholed into a genre, though most of the songs are of a sombre, introspective form of folk.
- Audience Participation Song: Almost every City And Colour song, according to Dallas, given how almost every fan is compelled to sing along at concerts. The most prominent example would be "What Makes a Man", where the concert audience would alternate with Dallas in singing the lines of the chorus.
- Bad Dreams: "Silver And Gold", which has the singer dreaming a dream that leaves him awaking to realize that "there was nothing left in which to believe".
- "Sleeping Sickness" has the singer state that he woke to find his lungs empty. It is possible he suffered a nightmare before awaking.
- In "Fragile Bird", it is a broken woman who suffers from the nightmares. The singer can only hope she makes it through the night.
- Breakup Breakout: While Dallas's work with Alexisonfire wasn't exactly minute or under-recognized, City And Colour has achieved significant success. Whether it has dwarfed Dallas's work with Alexisonfire remains to be seen.
- Breakup Song: Quite a few, mostly of the "It's me, not you" or "I want you back" variety. The majority of these songs can be found on Sometimes.
- Broken Bird: "Fragile Bird".
- Call Back: Dallas occasionally utilizes lyrics he'd previously sung on Alexisonfire songs, among other musical elements. Examples:
- "Sam Malone" is basically a much gentler version of "Where No One Knows".
- The second stanzas of both verses of "Harder Than Stone" are borrowed from the chorus of "Born And Raised".
Born And Raised:
We were born and raised, to live beyond
The hefty weight of a world undone
Like a bird, from the north
Our hearts will roam in search of warmth
Harder Than Stone:
... 'cause I was born and raised, to live beyond
The hefty weight of a world undone...
... like a bird who flies, away from the north
My heart will roam, in search of warmth...
- "Ladies And Gentlemen" uses a much slower version of the melody from "Born And Raised", to haunting effect.
- And, in an instance of self-reference, "Two Coins" uses a slowed version of the tune from "Like Knives".
- "Unbeliever" similarly seems to take many cues from "Silver and Gold", which also makes sense in that the last lines in the third verse of "Silver and Gold" goes thus: "For suddenly, it was all so clear to me: There was nothing left in which to believe."
- Death Song: "Death's Song".
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: A mild form in "The Grand Optimist":
And now the wound has begun to turn
Another lesson that has gone unlearned
But this is not a cry for pity, nor for sympathy
But I don't mean to be a bother
I don't need you to take my burden away
And I ain't afraid of dying, cold and alone...
- Drowning My Sorrows: "The Death of Me", which expresses a desire for drinking sorrows away. Until the singer realizes that maybe he'll always be miserable with no control over his unhappiness, liquor or no liquor.
- Echoing Acoustics: Exploited. At least since the second album, Dallas and co have done much of their recording in a studio that was converted from an abandoned church, in part for the natural acoustic effects this provides.
- Follow Your Heart: "Against The Grain".
- Grief Song: "Body In A Box". Overlaps somewhat with When I'm Gone Song, since Dallas also voices in the song his desire to not be buried after death, but instead have his ashes scattered somewhere.
- Both "O' Sister" and "Sorrowing Man" count as this, since while neither of the addressees are dead, they are quite obviously suffering terribly, and the singer feels great sorrow in seeing them in that state.
- While "What Makes A Man?" does not mention anyone's death, it is implied that the singer is contemplating what goes through a person's mind in his/her last moments because of the death of someone close to him.
- I Am the Band: With a good deal of the songs being, in their essence, just Dallas with a guitar, this is generally true, moreso for the earlier albums. However, while Dallas IS the only full-time member of the band, he has had a lineup of frequent collaborators such as multi-instrumentalist (guitar/drums/keyboard/etc.) Daniel Romano, bassist Scott Remila, and drummer Dylan Green (no relation).
- The Insomniac: The protagonist/singer of three songs on Bring Me Your Love have trouble sleeping: "The Death Of Me", "Sleeping Sickness", and "Constant Knot".
- Last Kiss: "As Much As I Ever Could":
So give me one last kiss
For soon, such distance
Will stretch between our limbs
Now the day's losing light...
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Waiting...". The music is somewhat upbeat. The lyrics, unlike most City And Colour songs, feels devoid of hope or even a sense of pained longing, and sounds almost like a Suicide Note. It all culminates in the chorus:
So say goodbye to love
And hold your head, up high
There's no need to rush
We're all just waiting, waiting to die
- Please Don't Leave Me: "Because without you here, I don't think I can close my eyes."—"Constant Knot"
- "Day Old Hate" can be interpreted as the singer's pleas for his significant other to stay, even though he knows she was not emotionally honest with him when they entered the relationship in the first place and are not compatible with each other.
- Punny Name: As Dallas states, "Dallas is a city. Green is a color. City, and Colour."
- Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Dallas sports an impressive quantity of tattoos, worthy of a musician with hardcore punk origins. Most of his City and Colour songs are gentle, soothing affairs. Interviews and fan commentary also paint him as a very nice, kind man who rarely loses his temper—unless, for example, someone at his concert has been messing with his fans.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: On occasion. Most obvious in "Day Old Hate", whose second chorus concludes with a "chorus of one" effect.
- Shout-Out: Bring Me Your Love is titled after a short story by Charles Bukowski, whose work Dallas picked up while on tour with Alexisonfire as a countermeasure to Writer's Block.
- "Sam Malone" is named after the bartender from Cheers. Further, the line "And I know some place I can go, where no one knows my name" references the show's theme tune, which has the repeated line "you wanna go where everybody knows your name".
- "In the Water I am Beautiful" is titled after a quote from Vonnegut's short story collection ''Welcome to the Monkey House".
- "Hello, I'm in Delaware" is a quote from Wayne's World.
- "Paradise" has the line "Now my body is aching, and both ends of the candle burn." While "burning both ends of the candle" is an old idiom, the atmosphere of the song suggests this may be a reference to Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "First Fig", which helped to popularize the expression in its modern usage.
- Single Stanza Song: "Casey's Song", whose entire lyrics consists of the following verse, repeated two times:
With you, on my mind
And my heart, held in your hands
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Discussed. "The Grand Optimist" has Dallas musing on his own anxious nature that drives him to worry about "the things [he'd] left undone", and compares this to the more easygoing attitude of his father, who tells him "Son, life just ain't that hard..."
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: While anyone at least somewhat familiar with Alexisonfire and Dallas's role in the band would not be surprised, anyone who has only listened casually to that band who then transitions to City And Colour may well be surprised. This is due to the fact that, according to Dallas, many people who give an initial listen to Alexisonfire and search up on the band mistake him for the guttral screamer, whereas it is George Pettit who provides the screams while Dallas furnishes the smooth sung vocals.
- Textless Album Cover: Little Hell, whose cover depicts a stylized field of tulips in the Netherlands. The Hurry And The Harm has a picture of Dallas, half of his face partially obscured with round polka dot-like disks.
- This Is Your Song: "The Girl", likely addressed to Dallas's then-fiance (now wife). He thanks her for being there even when his job means that he must travel the world to pursue his dreams, and dedicates the song to her.
- Title Track: Both Sometimes and Little Hell have one; further, The Hurry and the Harm opens with its title track. At least for Little Hell, Dallas came up with the song title before deciding it would be apt for the album as well.
- Even Bring Me Your Love, which does not have a title track, does an Album Title Drop in the chorus of the last song, "As Much As I Ever Could".
- Pops up on his fifth record, If I Should Go Before You.
- Unplugged Version: Not exactly an official (pressed) release, but "Fragile Bird" has a very good recorded acoustic version.
- Woman Scorned: "Thirst" was written from such a POV.