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City and Colour from the album The Love Still Held Me Near available on Still Records/Dine Alone Music (by Lee Zimmerman)
Dallas Green has never refrained from sharing his vulnerability and casting his feelings forward, well within public view. Opting for an alternative to Alexisonfire, the hardcore outfit he had helped found, he now makes music under the moniker City and Colour, which, over the course of the past 17 years, has released seven albums, climbed atop the Canadian charts, and reaped four Canadian Juno Awards, that country’s equivalent of a Grammy.
Even so, Green bows more towards sentiment and spirituality rather than the lure of commercial success. It follows then that the new album, The Love Shall Hold Me Near, echoes the precepts implied by its title, sharing songs that detail a series of personal tragedies suffered over the course of a single year, when he lost two people that were especially dear and struggled to keep his marriage from approaching a breaking point.
Not surprisingly, then, the new album is flush with vulnerability and a deep current of emotional uncertainty. Practically every song basks in the tender trappings of darkness and despair, with titles such as “Fucked It Up”, “Things We Choose to Care About”, After Disaster”, “Without Warning”, and “Hard, Hard Time” expressing the need to find the will and resolve needed to overcome dire and difficult circumstances. Notably, then, Green doesn’t allow himself to simmer in self-pity. Rather, he seeks to shore up his strength, even in the midst of laments that deal with failure and frustration. ‘We had everything we needed, but we fucked it up’ he declares on the aforementioned “Fucked It Up”, a song that embodies the remorse and regret that accompanied an unraveling relationship with his wife.
Nevertheless, this is anything but a tepid set of songs. “The Love Still Held Me Near”, “A Little Mercy”, and “Meant to Be” temper Green’s honesty with decided determination, as manifest in the forceful arrangements and a steady, assured approach. For all the angst and acrimony implied in these turgid tales, Green still finds the wherewithal to somehow summon the strength and conviction needed to persevere. Closing track, “Begin Again” sums those sentiments up succinctly.
The result is a genuinely affecting effort, one that reaffirms Green’s passion and purpose. Whether conveyed in the soulful strains of “Without Warning”, the haunting embrace of “Bow Down to Love”, or the more assertive sounds echoed in “The Water Is Coming” and “Hard, Hard Time”, Green’s commitment and conviction are never in doubt. In essence then, The Love Still Held Me Near provides proof that certain bonds are never broken. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of City and Colour from AMAZON
For more information head over to the City and Colour website
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