How City and Colour’s new album helped Dallas Green process unimaginable grief

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      “I think I’ve just gotten better at singing,” muses Dallas Green.

      The man behind indie folk and rock outfit City and Colour’s voice has changed over the years, and the sound of his music has morphed along with it.

      Part of it is the evolution of his skills, and part of it is, simply, being a human in the world.

      “I’m always trying to capture how I’m feeling in that particular moment,” Green reflects via phone. “I feel like the songs have to capture me as the person I am in that moment. It’s like a snapshot of where I was and who I was in that place. It’s this constant sort of search for something more than what you had already done, I guess is kind of what lies at the root of it.”

      The change can be heard from his first album, Sometimes, to his seventh and most recent album, The Love Still Held Me Near. While Green agrees that there is a marked difference, he ensures that each album remains authentic to who he is.

      “An outside listener, they’re hearing the additional instruments added and maybe the song structure being different, or maybe my voice has obviously changed,” he says. “I think it still sounds like me.”

      The Love Still Held Me Near tackles the emotions that Green grappled with while mourning the death of his long-time friend, Karl “Horse” Bareham. Bareham was a British music producer and engineer who worked with Alexisonfire, Green’s other band, on tour starting in the mid-2000s. He was also an integral part of the first City and Colour album. This new record helped move Green through the grieving process.

      “I realized that I was addressing a lot of the things I was feeling in the songs, which was my way of therapeutically unleashing a lot of that stuff I was holding on to about it all,” he says. “And then obviously, what you would hope is that you can create something that turns the sadness and the longing into something positive and beautiful, and that can hopefully be relatable to someone else.”

      Green also uses the music to address his relationship to faith. He grew up in a Catholic household and attended Catholic school, though he is not religious anymore. But when faced with the loss of Bareham, he found himself reconnecting with the things he had learned as a kid. 

      “Even if I’ve changed the way that I approach life, it’s still something I was taught, and I know that there are good parts about me that I learned from being brought up that way,” he says of his religious background. “I know that there are certain parts of my personality that were shaped by that.”

      Green is currently on tour in support of the album, and it’s taking him to the West Coast this month. He sees it as a homecoming of sorts.

      “A lot of my band is from there,” he says of Vancouver, “So playing there now feels more like a hometown show, because all my guys have family and friends and everything there.”

      While he has graduated from playing smaller venues like the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the PNE Amphitheatre to the stadium crowds of Rogers Arena, Green insists that his relationship to his audience is the same.

      “It’s about trying to make sure that you present something that reaches everybody in the back of the room as well as the front,” he explains. “Even though it’s a big hockey arena or something like that, I still try to make it feel intimate. We’re all there for a shared experience.”

      For those who are fans of Green’s other project, You+Me (a folk collaboration with Pink), there is good news: after 10 years, the duo has recorded some new songs.

      “There will be one at some point,” he says of a new You+Me album. “But I have no idea when or where or how or who or what.”

      He doesn’t need to have all the answers right now. He’ll sing his way through them when the time comes.

      City and Colour plays Rogers Arena with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats on February 8.