city and colour: if i should go before you review
Like many of us, I tie music to events in my life and the people I was with at that given period of time. For Ontario, Canada's music outfit "City and Colour" I'll forever tie their music to time spent getting tattooed by my best friend who owns Tree of Life Tattoo in Whitefish. It's because of him I was introduced to Dallas Green, the man behind this band that makes incredibly beautiful music. When I first heard this man's voice over the canvas of music he created, my life was never the same again.
City and Colour was originally a side project for Dallas Green while he was playing guitar and doing clean vocals for the post-hardcore band "Alexisonfire". In 2005, Dallas recorded 10 songs that would become City and Colour's debut album "Sometimes". Originally released in November of 2005 and later re-issued by Vagrant Records in 2007, Dallas was widely well received in his native Canada and the world abroad. So much so he was awarded Alternative Album of the Year at the 2007 Juno Awards.
February 2008 saw the release of City and Colour's sophomore album "Bring Me Your Love". This time around, Dallas Green began incorporating different instruments into his already great sound (banjo, drums and lap steel guitar to name a few) to create a collective work that stands to many fans as his best work to date. "Bring Me Your Love" would find Dallas collaborating musicians rather than just himself. This would become the norm from here on.
City and Colour's third album "Little Hell" was released in June 2011. It was a drastic departure from their previous two releases, but a departure that didn't lose the core essence of what City and Colour is. Once again collaborating with different musicians as well as recording most of the instruments himself, the end product was a bit of old but a lot of new and what's to come from Dallas Green. "Little Hell" debuted #1 on the Canadian albums chart and debuted #28 on the Billboard 200.
A few months after releasing "Little Hell", Dallas' other band Alexisonfire broke up. The main reason behind this was for Dallas leaving to focus on City and Colour as his main project, finding it difficult to juggle two bands at once. In November 2012, Dallas announced he'd begun recording material for his next album. Released in June 2013, "The Hurry and the Harm" further incorporated the full-band element and lyrical growth as well. To date, the album remains to be City and Colour's highest charting debut on the American charts (#16 on the Billboard 200).
In 2014, Dallas Green collaborated with singer Pink to record 10 songs under the name "You+Me". Recorded in a few days time, their debut album "Rose Ave." was released in October 2014. The musical combination of Dallas and Pink's vocals is something to be heard. If you're a fan of mellow folk music with beautiful harmonies, I highly suggest you check that album out!
Most of 2015 was spent recording the album I'm reviewing today, titled "If I Should Go Before You". This is City and Colour reaching for heights and sounds I never expected. I mean that in the greatest way possible. Not too many artists or bands have the guts to start off an album with a nine minute long song, but Dallas has never been one to hold back. "Woman" is a journey from start to finish with atmospheric sounds and a simple guitar riff that further builds intensity as the song progresses over simple, straight-forward lyrics. It's the most beautiful way you can spend nine minutes, I promise you!
"Mizzy C" is a standout track with it's guitar work and infectious rhythm section. "Wasted Love" further takes ambitious steps in comparison to their earlier work and it pays off. You'll find yourself humming to this song in no time. "Runaway" takes an alt-country route, pedal steel guitar included. Dallas' vocals on this song are top notch. Every song he's ever sung has passion behind it. "Lover Come Back" has become one of my favorite tracks that City and Colour has created. Beautifully written lyrics, music composition and Dallas at the helm of it all with his falsetto voice. It's like he's talking to your soul. You gotta love music when it can do such a thing to you.
"If I Should Go Before You" is another welcomed chapter into City and Colour's already beautiful repertoire of releases. It's got something for everyone. If you're a fan of great, heartfelt music, I highly suggest you give this album a listen. You won't be disappointed!