Dallas Green Is in No Hurry

Canadian singer-songwriter talks about his writing process, Arizona shows

Dallas Green hasn't forgotten where he's from.

It's been almost a year since the Canadian singer-songwriter—who performs under the moniker City and Colour—played his last show with Alexisonfire, the post-hardcore Ontario quintet where Green got his start as a lead guitarist and vocalist.

But even after Alexisonfire disbanded, Green's past has remained an influence. In the pre-chorus of "Harder Than Stone," the second track from June's The Hurry and the Harm, he borrows lyrics from a track on Alexisonfire's final record.

"For me, I could not seem to move on from that song," Green said by phone from his home in Toronto, a day before hitting the road for his tour this fall. "Every time I tried to rewrite it with the melody and the chord progression into something different, I just kept wanting to sing those words."

Green's tour is scheduled to run through February, with stops throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Green announced his split from Alexisonfire in 2011, just after the release of City and Colour's Little Hell, to pursue what had originally begun as a one-man acoustic side project. In the two years since, Green said, more creative freedom came with all the extra time.

"Around the time when I usually would've started thinking about another Alexis record and starting to maybe talk with the other guys about what direction we'd want to go in, I didn't have that to think about," he said. "When I picked up the guitar, it was just kind of to see what comes out."

He's used the extra time, he said, to improve the songs he was working on rather than write more of them. For Green, quality tracks don't come from a collection of 50 demos or forced lyrics. He said he's never been a "bulk songwriter."

Green's new record marks the first City and Colour album recorded outside of Ontario, with him laying down the tracks in Nashville, Tenn. Although he admitted that a city can have an effect on the sound of a record, Green said this wasn't the case with The Hurry And The Harm, whose songs were ready to go by the time the band took to the studio.

"I think that you could've taken the group that we had and the songs and made the same record anywhere," he said, adding that the change of scenery came as a suggestion by producer Alex Newport.

Green has played in Arizona many times with Alexisonfire since 2003. His shows in Tucson and Tempe this October mark his second and third stops in the state with City and Colour, after playing Tempe's Marquee Theatre in November 2011. Green said he's always enjoyed his Arizona shows, which have seen him take the stage in some unconventional venues.

"We always had good shows, whether it was playing the Marquee with Alexis, or one time I remember we played a basement once, and I remember we played in what seemed like a shack one time," he said. "I remember it being one of the hottest shows we've ever played, but I've always had a good time playing there with Alexis, so I was excited to see how well attended the City and Colour show was. It'll be cool to go out to Tucson because I've never played there with City and Colour, either."

Green said that showgoers can expect a set list that spans his catalog, with most songs from the latest record and Little Hell, along with a handful of old tracks. Even with four City and Colour records and dozens of tracks under his belt, Green said he still hasn't written his favorite song yet.

"I'd like to say it's the next song I'm going to write," he said. "If I'm always looking for the best song I've ever written, then I'm always trying to be better."

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