The cover art for City and Colour’s latest album, “Little Hell,” may be a colorful illustration of tulips in a Dutch field — but there are much darker themes in the words within.
The indie folk instrumentation is decorated with Dallas Green’s lyrics, which largely touch upon the personal aspects of his life. Although his past two albums have also held intimate details of his problems or parts of his relationship, “Little Hell” has tracks that deal with previously untouched material such as insomnia and depression, and songs such as “O’ Sister” and “The Grand Optimist” that deal with family issues.
“All of my records are pretty much the same as far as the honesty and lyrics,” Green says, “so I think that because this has a few songs on it that deal directly with my family members, people assume it’s more personal than the last.”
It’s hard for listeners not to assume that, with lyrics like “Does it have something to do with the pills they gave to you?” in “O’ Sister,” which delves into Green’s thoughts on his sibling’s depression.
For Green, who was formerly the singer for Alexisonfire, his third album as City and Colour marks a chance to let loose and create music that felt right and reflected his own life.
“I just wanted to make it all about whatever I wanted it to be,” he says. “There’s a bunch of songs on the record that have a full band, and there’s even some louder songs on the record. I didn’t want to suppress all those ideas I had just because people have a certain idea of what City and Colour should sound like.”
A little heaven with ‘Little Hell’
Green has found that getting through instances that are part of his own “Little Hell” is easier because he is a musician. Even on the days he wakes up sick or becomes fed up with life on the road, he says performing for his fans is what makes it all worthwhile.
“Sometimes you just don’t want to go to work, and today was one of those days where I’m like, ‘I don’t want to play tonight.’ But I know the best part about that is I’ll be able to go onstage and it’ll all go away. That’s the heaven part for me,” he says. “The traveling and the sitting in the rainy parking lot with nothing around us ... that’s not what I like about being a musician. The getting up and singing the songs, that’s my favorite part.”