Published Oct 16, 2015Melancholy lyrics, sparse arrangements and, above all, catchy acoustic strumming — these are the elements expected of City and Colour by the droves of casual fans who love his early minimalistic hits like "Comin' Home," or the intimate instrumentation of his 2014 collaborative album with pop starlet Pink, titled Rose Ave. Now Dallas Green is looking forward to upending anyone's assumptions about his sound with a new electric guitar-laden, occasionally soulfully groovy LP dubbed If I Should Go Before You.
"I've never really been interested in repeating the formula that's working, and I'm always trying to defy my own expectations as much as fans' expectations," Green tells Exclaim! "Doing the record with Alecia [Moore, a.k.a. Pink] kind of drained my well of quieter ideas. After I finished that and got home from touring, I started writing, and all I could hear in my head was my band playing with me. I'd never done that before, because I'd never had such a solid lineup of guys that I'd spent an entire tour cycle with."
That backing band includes bassist Jack Lawrence, drummer Doug MacGregor, pedal steel player Matt Kelly and especially guitarist Dante Schwebel, the latter of whom worked closely with Green on If I Should's eclectic riffs.
"He pushes me to try different things. For things I'd maybe be afraid to do, or not have confidence to try, he backs up those ideas of mine," Green says of his friendship and collaboration with Schwebel.
That's especially true of the album's Pink Floyd-meets-Crazy Horse lead track "Woman," or its midway, D'Angelo-inspired soulful grooving numbers like "Killing Time" and "Wasted Love" — all of which sound like nothing else in his City and Colour repertoire, or even in his previous work with post-hardcore troop Alexisonfire.
And while that sonic revamping may surprise fans, those followers may be even more shocked to hear that Green needed an ego boost from his bandmates, especially after all the success that he has enjoyed throughout his fledging solo career.
"There is an underlying self-doubt that will always run through my music. It's a bit of a negative way to live, but it's the way I've always worked, and it's the reason I always try to evolve and be a better singer every time I open my mouth."
If I Should Go Before You is out now on Dine Alone. City and Colour has a string of upcoming U.S. and European dates, and you can see those all here.