Solo projects are inherently at risk. Traditionally, few members of any prominent band have been successful in this sort of undertaking and even fewer have enjoyed both critical and commercial success. Add to this the bizarre notion of creating stripped-down music that doesn’t even reference the original band’s genre and you certainly have fewer examples of success to point to.
Until a couple of years ago, Dallas Green was better known as the dulcet voice of Alexisonfire. The band’s feverish live shows and rabid fan base quickly earned them the distinction of being one of the most exciting and talked about bands in Canada.
During some time off between tours, Green assembled a collection of songs he had been writing over the years. He released a very limited pressing of the songs, which he recorded using only acoustic guitar and his plaintive voice. Something in these tracks resonated with people in a completely unexpected way. Not surprisingly, the songs found their way onto the Internet, where fans started passing them around. With none of the obvious viral marketing that goes on now, there was a groundswell of interest in this unassuming collection of compositions. It was becoming clear that there was serious interest in what Green was creating. In 2005, Alexisonfire’s sophomore album went Platinum, the band won the Juno Award for New Group of the Year, and Green quietly debuted his full-length album Sometimes under the solo moniker City and Colour.
In a rare break between Alexisonfire outings that year, City and Colour undertook a cross-Canada tour, performing in intimate settings with only a guitar and a microphone. The same intimacy that Green offered in his songs was offered to fans across Canada, resulting in long lineups for sold-out shows. The fever soon spread across the Atlantic, where City and Colour played a sold-out Barfly tour in the U.K. Exceeding everyone’s expectations, Sometimes achieved Platinum certification in 2006. Remaining sincere and affable, Green gave a heartfelt performance at the 2006 MuchMusic Video Awards, where City and Colour won the People’s Choice Favourite Canadian Artist award. In 2007, Green performed live on the Junos, taking home the award for Alternative Album of the Year.
Released n March 2007, City and Colour Live brought fans front row and centre to experience the memorable moments of Green’s performances. The CD/DVD package featured 13 heart-wrenching live tracks, including a unique performance on piano of Alexisonfire’s fan favourite “Happiness by the Kilowatt.”
Bring Me Your Love is City and Colour’s sophomore studio album. It evolves and adds layers to the sentiments in those vulnerable moments shared by Green on his original independent release. Co-produced by Dan Achen (Junkhouse) and recorded at Catherine North Studio in Hamilton, the first song “Forgive Me” opens with footsteps on a wood floor, the whirling of a nearby fan, and the rustling of Green picking up his acoustic guitar and sitting on a leather chair to perform on the former altar of this church-turned-studio. Every instrument used in the recording is “pre-loved,” vintage gear complementing the warmth and honesty of Green's compositions - an intentional approach to capture the essence and intimacy of how records used to sound. Instruments and vocals were carefully recorded live off the floor, giving the songs depth and intimacy, and eschewing the cut-and-paste approach that is so common in today's recordings. The album feels like a throwback to the days when an album's thrills and beauty were found not just in exceptional songs and musicianship, but also in its blemishes and simplicity.
Bring Me Your Love delivers Green's signature delicate vocals accompanying another set of candid musings, which continue to articulate his engaging perspective on love and life. It rings with frames of beautiful melody surrounding meaty indie, folk-rock landscapes. Gordon Downie (The Tragically Hip) adds his distinctive vocals to "Sleeping Sickness" and appearances by friends and label mates Dan Romano and Spencer Burton (Attack in Black) are a reminder that this is an entirely new collection of songs, written during a prolific year. Green continues to demonstrate his talents as a musician, singer and songwriter moving comfortably and seamlessly between City and Colour and his role anchoring a successful post-hardcore band. The tracks on Bring Me Your Love are a beautiful insight into the quieter side of a legitimate artist.