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Man at Work: City and Colour

Sam D’Arcangelo | December 11, 2013

"When I first started thinking about putting out a solo record, I thought about somebody wearing a T-shirt that said, ‘Dallas Green,’ and it made me sick to my stomach. I wanted to come up with something to kind of hide behind,” explains Dallas Green, the artist better known as City and Colour. “Dallas is a city and green is a color, so City and Colour is kind of like saying my name.”

Although there is nothing about his current solo work that suggests his aggressive musical past, Green initially found success as part of the popular post-hardcore group Alexisonfire. While still a member of that outfit, Green started recording under the City and Colour moniker, focusing on a set of songs that grapple with a variety of introspective themes like self-doubt and regret. Despite hiding under a pseudonym, the Canadian singer/songwriter has never been one to shy away from the stage—a fact that’s made apparent by his recent tour cycle, which has taken him to more than 40 venues on three continents in just a few months.

In June, Green released his fourth City and Colour album, The Hurry and the Harm, which finds him settling in to the more expansive sonic space that he first experimented with on 2011’s Little Hell—albeit without the synths. The album juxtaposes lush instrumental arrangements with Green’s pitch-perfect falsetto, creating a full sound that’s a far cry from the man-with-an-acoustic-guitar style that defined his earlier recordings. The newer material also allows Green to utilize the backing band that’s accompanied him throughout his hefty tour behind The Hurry and the Harm. In fact, unlike many of his emo-folk contemporaries who are often content with simply going through the motions onstage, Green views his albums as springboards for his live show.

“I’ve always thought that the record is just kind of a warm-up,” he says. “The record is a moment in time and every live show should be its own moment as well. I go out and try to sing my butt off every night, and hopefully, people will tell me that we sound better live than we do on the records. That’s sort of the goal.”