Green adds colour to sad songs
DALLAS Green was given some advice by an Australian fan several years ago when he was touring with his previous music incarnation Alexisonfire.
The Canadian rocker was about to unveil his singer songwriter alter ego City and Colour and the fan revealed the clue to winning the hearts and minds of loyal Australian fans.
‘‘I remember talking to a kid who explained to me years ago when Alexisonfire first came that Australians are very loyal in the sense that if you come all the way here and play regularly, they will stick with you,’’ he says.
‘‘The first time I played as City and Colour was here at Soundwave in 2008 when we were also here with Alexisonfire.’’
Like Foo Fighters, Ben Harper and his good mate Pink, Green has found a warm, and bigger, welcome with each of his 10 trips to Australia.
His intimate solo gigs in Sydney and Melbourne earlier this year to launch latest record The Hurry And The Harm sold out in seconds.
Green didn’t seem to be joking when he suggested waiting for scalpers outside those July concerts with a bat.
‘‘I just hate how they rip kids off. I have a big problem with scalpers,’’ he says.
‘‘They are making kids pay so much more when all they want is to be able to see a band play. I’ve heard too many stories from them about having to pay $500. It’s an epidemic.’’
The Hurry And The Harm indulges Green’s love of the minor key and melancholy. He acknowledges they may be the serious songwriter’s most revered tools but the sad songs are where he feels comfortable. So is melancholy to rock music what sex is to pop?
‘‘To certain rock music, yes, I think that’s a good comparison. And it depends on the voice too. My voice has always felt better in that wheelhouse, that’s what I feel comfortable singing,’’ he says.
‘‘Tapping into the minor keys feels like me rather than singing about Friday night picking up a girl in a bar. Although I could probably write that song. Actually, I think I tried to and it turned into a rejection song.’’
City and Colour’s growing success relies on real songs about real emotions played by real humans.
Green doesn’t talk about reinventing the wheel. He wouldn’t consider making a ‘genre’ record for purists and prefers to focus on the crafting and performance of a song.
‘‘As a songwriter, I live in the age of reference. I have 50 to 60 years of rock ’n roll and blues and country and these different things to listen to,’’ he says.
‘‘When Son House picked up a guitar in the delta, he tuned it to what he thought it should sound like. And then I could listen to Keith Richards’ interpretation of that. I have all these references to pick from.
‘‘So why not? Why not take what you need from it? That’s what I feel is the best part of music.’’
Graduating to our theatres for the Hurry and the Harm tour has Green contemplating the science of the setlist. Geography can often affect a performance and while he will enjoy the luxury of space afforded by his elevation to bigger venues, the musician wants to keep the intimacy which has underlined his shows.
‘‘These kind of places can be great for the moments when it’s just you, your voice and guitar, when you try to get that pin-drop silence from the audience,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s the opposite of when I used to play with Alexisonfire and the goal was to get everyone moving.’’ Dallas Green, formerly of Alexisonfire, now plays as City And Colour.
– KATHY McCABE
City And Colour and Twin Forks play The Riverstage, in Brisbane, on November 30.