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.