City and Colour
City and Colour's Dallas Green

City and Colour: “I Didn’t Know if I Was Going to Write Anything Ever Again”

For droves of music fans around the world, there are few sounds more evocative than Dallas Green’s voice. Whether soaring above the chaotic sounds of post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire or hovering dreamily over the tender musical modes of City and Colour, Green’s signature tone speaks straight to the soul of his fanbase.

Green has released six albums as City and Colour, and album seven, The Love Still Held Me Near, is due out on Friday, 31st March. Green has deployed his voice in search of catharsis on each of his previous outings, penning songs of regret, grief, heartbreak and anxiety. This approach has yielded rich rewards, both commercially and artistically, allowing City and Colour to become so much more than just an Alexisonfire side project.

The Canadian songwriter is again seeking catharsis on The Love Still Held Me Near, using music to navigate the grief that followed the death of his best friend. On the album’s first two singles, ‘Meant To Be’ and ‘Underground’, Green sounds neither angry nor in shock, but prepared to process the grief.

Music Feeds spoke to Green ahead of an Australian tour that includes the SummerSalt festival and headline shows. Green opened up about the inspiration behind and intentions of a record that he feared he’d never write.

City and Colour – ‘Underground’

Music Feeds: Dallas, you’ve just announced your new album, The Love Still Held Me Near. Are you looking forward to sharing some of those songs with the Australian audience? 

Dallas Green: I’ve been kind of sitting on this record for a little bit while we were off doing the Alexisonfire stuff, but I’m really, really proud of it, and it was a really emotional record to make. So, yes, I’m really looking forward to sharing it with everybody.

MF: The album will land less than a year after the latest Alexisonfire record. Does it feel like you’ve found a well of inspiration lately?

Dallas: It does, but when we first started writing these songs, I didn’t really see it coming – and then all of a sudden, I just couldn’t stop. For a bit of context, 2019 was a very difficult year for me, and then at the beginning of 2020, with the pandemic kind of starting, I was in this really strange place in my life. I know it was really strange for everybody, but I think having had this really troubled year before it had put me in a really bad place – creatively and in my life.

I know that is a very cliché thing for a writer to say, but it was truly one of those points where I didn’t know if I was going to write anything else ever again, or if I would even want to play music. I had to have a serious conversation with myself and that led to this creative explosion where I just started writing. And then Alexis started jamming, and by the end of May 2021 I had made both records.

MF: What did it feel like to be experiencing such a sudden burst of creativity after all that soul-searching?

Dallas: It was the most creatively explosive time I’ve ever had as a writer. I really did find a well of inspiration, but I still don’t know where it came from. All I do know is that I’ve usually written about things that are troubling me or weighing on me – I’ve always tried to write myself through those moments – but this was really astonishing to me, to be honest with you.

MF: Were the events that inspired these songs still occurring when you were writing? Or was this you processing their impact in the aftermath?

Dallas: It was sort of the latter. In 2019, I lost my best friend, right before my last record came out. So I was promoting the record and I had no idea how to do it. I was not there at all, mentally and emotionally. It was really the world shutting down that caused me to have to sit there and process and think about how to talk myself through all of this stuff.

The record is really about me being as low as I’ve ever felt. It’s about feeling broken and torn apart and just trying to figure out how to put the pieces back together.

City and Colour – ‘Meant to Be’

MF: Your fans connect with your music in a deep and personal way, and your music has often been played at weddings and funerals. How does it feel knowing that your music has played a role in some of the best and worst days of people’s lives?

Dallas: To be honest with you, it’s a complex thing to answer. I couldn’t be more grateful that the music that I write as a cathartic process has been able to translate into other people’s lives. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was to write a song that made somebody feel the way that I did when I heard the music that I loved.

I could never have imagined that people would play it when they were walking down the aisle or in memory of someone that’s gone. It’s an incredibly complex, nuanced feeling to explain. I don’t really know if I have the right words to express how knowing that makes me feel.

Sometimes it makes me feel sad that there are even situations in other people’s lives where they would have to play a song of mine because someone has passed, but at the same time, I understand that those experiences aren’t singular to one person.

‘Meant To Be’ is about the most devastating thing that has ever happened in my life, but I also understand that it’s not singular to my experience; it’s a thing that binds all of us as human beings. While we all differ and we all have different opinions and different cultures, there are some things that bring us all together – and the truest and most universal of those is death.

The Love Still Held Me Near is out on Friday, 31st March.

City and Colour 2023 Australian Tour

  • Wednesday, 1st February – Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
  • Tuesday, 7th February – Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo VIC
  • Thursday, 9th February – Forum, Melbourne VIC
  • Monday, 13th February – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD

SummerSalt Festival w/Angus & Julia Stone, Ben Harper and more

  • Friday, 27th January – Stage 88, Canberra, ACT
  • Saturday, 28th January – Thomas Dalton Park, Wollongong, NSW
  • Sunday, 29th January – Esplanade Park, Fremantle, WA
  • Friday, 3rd February – Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart, TAS
  • Saturday, 4th February – Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC
  • Sunday, 5th February – Torquay Common, Torquay, VIC
  • Saturday, 11th February – Park Beach Reserve, Coffs Harbour, NSW
  • Sunday, 12th February – Broadwater Parklands, Southport, QLD

Further Reading

Alexisonfire: “This is the Best Record We’ve Ever Done”

City and Colour Announces Headline Australian Dates for 2023

Angus & Julia Stone, Ben Harper and City And Colour To Play SummerSalt 2023

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