City and Colour is the stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green. Once upon a time, he was a member of the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, which self-identified as "the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife fight." But Green had a different side to him, too.
"I started playing guitar when I was very, very young, and with that came an amplified guitar and learning my favorite rock-band songs. So I always had an interest in, I guess, aggressive music or loud music," he says. "But I also started singing, and realized that I had a pretty good sense of melody. [I wanted] to play my guitar really, really loud, but also, I felt very comfortable playing a guitar quietly and singing quietly, as well."
Green is now releasing his fourth solo album as City and Colour. The alias is a play on his real name (Dallas is the city, Green the color), which he shares with the manager who led the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980, just after Green was born.
"My mother wanted to name me Graham Todd, and my father said, 'No, thanks,' " Green says. "He had placed a bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series, and they subsequently did. My last name was Green and he thought, 'Well, let's just name him Dallas.' "
Apart from being much quieter than Alexisonfire, City and Colour showcases Green's voice, which often tips into an impressive falsetto. He says he takes pride in singing well, and that as a Canadian musician, he's got a little Neil Young in his DNA by default. Mostly, though, Green says he hopes people will hear his music and find something in it that they need.
"I've always really appreciated the fact that I can write a song about something that means a lot to me, and has to do with something in my own life, but I can meet someone on the street who, the same song has affected them in a different way or helped them through something in their life," he says. "That they were just able to listen to that song and relate to it completely, without knowing or having met me before — I think that's the greatest part about music."