THE last time Canberra heard the sounds of City and Colour – the codename for Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green – was when the Groovin’ the Moo festival rolled through town last year.
Speaking to “CityNews” over the phone, Green says he’s pleased to be coming back to Australia for a second proper City and Colour tour and his local fans are no doubt pleased that this time, Canberra is on the itinerary.
“I’m excited to come back there and play by myself, and see what the crowd is like, see the city, see the venue and all that,” he says, explaining that he didn’t learn a lot about Canberra or his local fanbase when he passed through with the GTM roadshow.
“That’s the thing with festivals, especially that festival,” says Green. “I mean, there were definitely people who were singing along and, I could tell, knew who City and Colour was, but because the lineup was so diverse, I feel like there was a lot of people who just went there for the event.”
He’s not saying festival crowds are a bad thing, but is looking forward to things being different when he comes back to Canberra on his own terms with a bunch of new songs from his latest album under the City and Colour moniker, “The Hurry and The Harm”, released in June.
“Going into [the album], I knew that I wanted the songs to be the way I was hearing them,” he says. “When I looked at the things that are popular these days, and I looked at the style of music I could lend myself to with my acoustic guitar and my voice, I knew that I probably could have manipulated my songs into more of what is popular, to sort of appease what I think people maybe like, but I didn’t want to do that.”
In the tradition of folk music, the lyrics on City and Colour tracks are honest, reflective and clearly intended to do more than just fit a melody.
“I read and listen to music and watch movies and observe what’s going on around me in my own life, and I’m just trying to write about that,” says Green, explaining how “Commenters” from the new album was inspired by the massive social change the internet has unleashed over a couple of decades.
“Most people nowadays, all they do is just write bullshit on the internet. They come up with a fake screen name and then they feel like it’s okay to just write something horrible… and that’s it for most people. That’s their contribution to society: incorrectly spelling a racial slur or whatever. It really troubles me, because it gives you a little insight into maybe how people have always thought about one another, and now we just have a way to tell each other about it.”
The story behind “Thirst”, one of three songs from the new record released as singles, is even more interesting. Green says he wrote it under the impression it was for Kiwi songstress Kimbra, but when he met her at Groovin’ the Moo “…she said she’d never heard the song, and she didn’t even know the people who were supposedly asking me about it”.
“But it kind of worked out in my favour,” he adds. “I really love that song and it’s one of my favourite songs to sing every night.”
City and Colour, Royal Theatre, December 2.