Dallas Green is City and Colour
Dallas Green is a Canadian singer-songwriter who records under the alias City and Colour. He plays melodic acoustic and folk music to fans from Toronto to Macon.
Singer/Songwriter Dallas Green of City and Colour is beginning to become the musician he’d dreamed of being when he as a teenager playing music in Canada. From the powerful lyrics to the tremendous instrumentation that is portrayed in the music, the lessons he’s learned from traveling and performing around the world shows itself within every note. Dallas took the time to talk with 100.9 The Creek’s Charles Davis ahead of City and Colour’s show at the Cox Capitol Theatre on March 10th to talk about his early days as a musician, the evolution of his sound, and the influence that some Macon musicians had on him.
Tell us what you have been doing recently. Have you been recording any new music?
I just got back from a tour of Australia and New Zealand with my old band Alexisonfire and now i’m just sitting in the Toronto winter waiting to go and tour in the South to get away from the winter.
I know those winters in Canada can be a bit rough. Let’s talk about Alexisonfire. That was the first group you were with originally. It’s kind of a post hardcore band. How did it get started?
Well, we were just a bunch of kids growing up in southern Ontario and I think we were all just like-minded individuals and wanted to start a band. We didn’t really know what we wanted to sound like. We basically put a bunch of sounds that we liked in a hat, and shook it up to see what we would get out of it. Then people took to it early on in Canada and it allowed us to get out and tour and we used it as a vessel to see the world. It was unbelievable and it iss still surprising that we can still go and play where people are interested in it. Out of that came my solo project City and Colour and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
I was reading earlier you didn’t want to name the band Dallas Greene as you were a bit uneasy about it. Why was that?
I never really thought about a solo project first of all, so when it came time to put out this record of songs that were just me, I realized I wasn’t much of a fan of the spotlight. So the idea of someone walking around with a t-shirt with Dallas Greene on it didn’t make me feel good. I would think about Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen and all of these giants of songwriting and thought “I’m not one of them”. So I wanted something to hide behind in a way.
On a personal note, my favorite song of yours is off of the album Bring Me Your Love called “The Girl”.What was the inspiration behind it?
I think it was a couple of years into my relationship with my wife and the way I express myself is through music whether it’s a sad song or a happy song and really I was just trying to write something nice to her. I sometimes have a hard time explaining myself when I’m speaking and I have to write it down and sing it. It’s strange because you would think that if I could sing it in front of thousands of people, I should be able to explain it. So I’ve always expressed myself that was and it was me trying to say something nice to the person that I loved, who I always kind of thought was better than I was, so that’s where that came from.
From performing the hard rock style of Alexisonfire to the sentiment and the soul of City and Colour, I’m guessing it’s been a major effect on how you look at life and write your music.
Yes exactly. I will go back and listen to the early Alexisonfire stuff and its like I’m a boy trying to learn how to sing. Now after touring and writing for 15 years, I’m a man whose voice is different. I know it better. I know how to play better and that has a lot to do with it as well.
A lot of the artists that we play on The Creek 100.9 have formed relationships with people in Nashville, and I was reading that you fell in love with the city during the recording of your last album. What about it makes it so special to you?
It’s funny. I went down there to make a record two albums ago and I met Jack who played bass on that record and he became a good friend and I met another guy who plays in the band now down there as well. I just really enjoyed the small town feel as opposed to Toronto where me and my wife live. It was a bit of a quieter community and music is a beloved thing down there. The idea that it’s a family of musicians and everyone kinda knows each other and supports each other so it was a really fun experience. So when we went to record the second album, we thought it was a good idea to move there, so we bought a place. We try to live there when we can because we are Canadian and we have to live there for certain parts of the year but it’s a really special place.
With a lot of the music history here in Macon with Otis Redding, Little Richard, The Allman Brothers, and also James Brown and Jimi Hendrix spending time here, did that have any influence as you were becoming the musician you are today?
Absolutely. I don’t think I’d be playing the guitar if it weren’t for Jimi Hendrix. When I was younger, my father showed me Jimi and that made me excited to see people play a guitar like that. Obviously there wasn’t any hope to play like that but you could at least turn it up and try to make some noise. Then as I became more of a singer that’s when I started noticing different voices and Otis Redding obviously being one of the most powerful, greatest male singing voices of all time, you can’t help but be affected when you hear him sing. No one who plays music can escape any of those artists you mentioned.