CITY AND COLOUR
If I Should Go Before You From the psychedelic solos to the slightly R&B rhythms, surprises abound on City and Colour’s new LP. Yes, the acoustic pop balladeer born Dallas Green, famed for his skeletally arranged early hits, positively cuts loose on If I Should Go Before You. Opening track “Woman,” for instance, boasts roaring guitar solos and ambient production. And midway track “Killing Time,” perhaps the album’s best song, has funky, herky-jerky guitar work that’s a cross between Los Lobos and a lost Motown classic. But Green hasn’t abandoned his acoustic tendencies entirely — he’s just fleshed them out. “Lover Come Back” is a gospel-tinged tune featuring charming, albeit a bit on the nose, organ playing, and “Map of the World” has a chugging bass line that wouldn’t be out of place on a Sun Records rockabilly recording, as Green sings about how the “current of life” pulled him under until he was “swept away.” Clearly he is awash with new inspiration, and has absorbed it successfully, because it’s hard to recall an artist in recent memory who has revamped their sound as boldly as City and Colour has on If I Should Go Before
You. (Dine Alone, dinealonerecords.com)
YOU MOVED TO NASHVILLE AND RECORDED AT THE FAMOUS BLACKBIRD STUDIOS. WHAT IMPACT DID THAT HAVE?
I don’t know that I picked up any musical influences from the city. It had more to do with the house I bought, just this old log cabin that had a lot of vibe to it, where my touring band and I could sit and demo songs comfortably and recreate the fun we had on the road. Some of those bandmates, like [guitarist] Dante Schwebel, have lived in Nashville for years, so moving there myself helped with that.
THIS ALBUM ALSO HAS MUCH DIFFERENT COVER ART. WHAT INSPIRED THIS NEW COVER CHOICE?
Dante’s wife took the photos. I sent her a bunch of images, like photos from old Blue Note blues records, which were simple and clean. I also wanted her to capture this image of me walking away. That’s part of what inspired the title track — it’s a love song with the sentiment “If I were to go before you, to leave before you, then here’s something I’ve left behind for you.” It’s a bit of dark song, but that’s how I always end up writing. KYLE MULLIN