Dallas Green, the man behind City and Colour, is a master of melancholy. His music has traditionally explored themes of the more somber sides of life, and his latest album, “If I Should Go Before You,” is no exception. We talk to Green about celebrating the negative, and the few things in life he knows to be true.
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Life, death and love
Despite his heavy lyrics, Green tells us there isn’t always a gray cloud hanging over his head. “When I pick up the pen, it’s usually when I have something to say that’s been bothering me,” he says. “I like to write about those ‘why are we here’ moments. I always think about life and death because those are the two certainties that we have. The only two things we know for sure are that we are born and that we will die.”
But of course Green doesn’t write just about mortality; songs about love — though not always “love songs” — make up a bulk of the City and Colour library. “It’s not a certainty, but there’s a good chance in everyone’s life that they are either going to fall in love or out of love with someone or something,” he says.
The album’s title track is about all three themes: life, death and love. “It’s about a love that’s so strong it would outlast death,” Green says. “It’s stronger than both, life and death.”
Given his emotional lyrics, Green finds that people often turn to him in a time of crisis. “I talk to [people] every day at shows and they tell me some pretty heavy stuff,” he says. Green struggles with being their sought-out shoulder to cry on. “I take on the burden of the situation because I don’t want anyone to feel sad,” he says.
“I can’t fix [their problems], so I just try and listen and continue to write songs the best I can, and hope they are good enough that someone can take what they need from it.”
Just another day job
While Green’s career as a musician has been successful for a decade, he still struggles with continuing. “I definitely have moments where I don’t want to do it anymore,” he says.
But there are moments that he says make it worth it. “The amount of times that I come off stage very happy are few and far between. But the ones that are unbelievable and an outer body experience are the ones that keep [me] interested, wanting to do it more and trying to recreate that moment.”
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