Al­ter­na­tive folk

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - So­phie Ben­jamin

Guide Me Back Home City and Colour Still/Cook­ing Vinyl If you make a liv­ing as a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian, you’re go­ing to spend a lot of time away from home. Dal­las Green first hit the road in 2001 as a singer-gui­tarist in Cana­dian post-hard­core group Alex­ison­fire, but the un­planned suc­cess of his folkie solo project City and Colour forced the band into a hia­tus and Green into an even more gru­elling tour­ing sched­ule.

Feel­ing burnt out and list­less in 2016, Green de­cided to do a stripped-back tour across Canada, stop­ping at many smaller towns and cities he had never played be­fore. Ev­ery gig was recorded, and Guide Me Back Home col­lects 21 of th­ese live record­ings as a ret­ro­spec­tive of the tour and Green’s solo ca­reer.

The song­writer de­scribes the al­bum as “a love let­ter to Canada” and, like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell be­fore him, Green’s pa­tri­o­tism is deep and re­spect­ful. Songs from his first two al­bums, Some­times and Bring Me Your Love, are heavy on the home­sick­ness: “There goes my life / It’s pass­ing by with ev­ery exit sign,” he moans on Hello I’m in Delaware.

His more cur­rent work fo­cuses less on the road and more on the depth of con­nec­tion we need in our lives with the peo­ple we leave be­hind. The ti­tle track of his most re­cent al­bum, If I Should Go Be­fore You, urges his beloved to stay be­hind in the event of his pass­ing. What is death if not an­other jour­ney, af­ter all?

It’s lovely to hear Green’s songs ar­ranged so sparsely, played so beau­ti­fully and lis­tened to so in­tently. Cana­dian au­di­ences are as po­lite as you’d imag­ine.

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