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After 15 years on the road, City and Colour is playing it by ear

Dallas Green, who performs as City and Colour, will celebrate his birthday with a show at the Knitting Factory on Friday. (Alysse Gafkjen)
Dallas Green, who performs as City and Colour, will celebrate his birthday with a show at the Knitting Factory on Friday. (Alysse Gafkjen)

Canadian folk singer-songwriter Dallas Green, who performs as City and Colour (get it?), released his fifth studio album, “If I Should Go Before You,” in 2015.

Since then, Green has been touring nearly nonstop in support of the record.

Past City and Colour releases received the same two-year tour cycle, as did albums Green released as part of post-hardcore band Alexisonfire.

Between the two projects, Green has released nine studio albums. He also released an album called “Rose Ave.” with singer Alecia Moore, aka Pink, in 2014 as a duo called You + Me.

To make a long story short, Green has spent a majority of the last 15 years on the road.

He swears he’s going to take a break after each tour cycle but inevitably finds himself back in the studio or booking another run of dates.

But this time he means it, making his Friday show at the Knitting Factory one of his last for awhile.

In an email interview, Green talked with the Spokesman about how “If I Should Go Before You” came together, looking back on past achievements and what the future holds.

Q: If Wikipedia is correct, your birthday is the same day as your Spokane show. How do you celebrate a birthday on the road?

A: We have a lot of fun for everyone’s birthday. On normal days we are the type of people that take a joke to extremes but for birthdays we go overboard, in the best way possible. We always get the best cakes, deck out the dressing rooms and sometimes buy costumes - depends on the theme. My birthday falling on a show day is awesome. I always worry if I’ll have a good show and I feel like no matter what, it will be a great night.

Q: I read in your website bio that you were keen on producing “If I Should Go Before You” yourself. Why was producing the record yourself so important to you?

A: This was my fifth City and Colour record and my eleventh studio album overall. I wanted to approach it a little differently and try to see if I could do it on my own. I’ve always had a hand in working really closely with every producer I’ve worked with in the past. I did the same for “Bring Me Your Love” and was really proud of that album. I think producing other bands is something I’d like to give a try one day.

Q: “If I Should Go Before You” is your second album working with Dante, Doug, Jack and Matt. How did you five meet?

A: This was actually the first time I recorded with all of them. We’ve been touring together for a few years though - right after the release of “The Hurry and the Harm.” Recording with all of them was the best experience and it shows in the songs. Jack was the only one that was in the studio with me previously. We actually met when he played bass on “The Hurry and the Harm.” Everyone else started out as the live band. After touring with the guys for the last album cycle I knew there was no question we needed to record together.

Q: From my understanding, creating a City and Colour record used to be a fairly singular process. Has working with the guys changed how an album comes together?

A: Definitely. I didn’t go into other albums avoiding other players but after playing with the guys everyday for two years, on the last album cycle, it started to shape the way I approached the songs.

Q: I read a Q&A you did in March in which you said “I’m in this reflective period where I’ve been looking back on what I’ve done.” What moments from your past really stood out?

A: So many! It’s a little cliche, but if I’m being honest, all of it has. The fact that I get to travel the world and meet so many people just because of my guitar… it will always blow my mind. Moments that stand out to me are when I’m in South America and everyone is singing along, or I’m playing a small beachside town in Australia that took me two days to get to. When I’m visiting a town in the U.S. or Canada that I have never heard of, let alone played in the 15 years I’ve been touring, those moments really get to me.

Q: Does looking back on past milestones inspire you when it comes to future goals you want to achieve? On the other hand, does it add pressure to top those past milestones?

A: I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to pressure and expectations. My main goal is to always do better than the time before. So far I feel like I’ve achieved that and I hope to keep doing that and there will be someone that wants to listen. But if the day comes that there isn’t - I’ll still feel like I’m hitting those goals, because I’ll always try to write a better song, even if I’m the only one that hears it.

Q: Speaking of the future, I also read an interview you did last month in which you said “I’m not really sure where I want to go with the next record or if I want to make another record.” You then mention always telling yourself that you’re going to take a break only to end up booking more shows. After you finish this tour, might you actually give yourself a break or do you think music will creep back in sooner rather than later?

A: I have said the same thing after every tour cycle, but I never follow through. I have the best of intentions and then suddenly I’m booking studio time, recording and planning a two-year tour haha. This time I mean it though. I am going to go on a vacation with my wife and then see what happens. I don’t plan to avoid music for a year or anything crazy like that. I still want to work on music, but I plan to stay off the road. I need to recharge and try to see how long I can go without packing a suitcase. I always have a guitar in my hand when I’m at home, so I plan to write and try my hand at a few other creative things, maybe produce - I’m playing it by ear…for the first time in a long time.


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