Dallas Green and his band close out the Canada Games
Mick Côté, Staff Contributor
Two weeks of effort and dedication ended on a soft note on Feb. 26, at the 2011 Canada Games free concert headlined by City and Colour.
Hundreds of people braved the cold and packed Grand Parade Square to listen to Dallas Green’s chilling voice and anthemic songs.
“I’m going to go out back and put my hands in a fire for a minute and come back,” said Green. “I hope you don’t mind,” he added, before leaving the stage to seek refuge by the heaters.
Green and his band played for nearly an hour-and-a-half in -20°C temperature. His hands were cold, his voice sometimes shaky, but his determination remained palpable.
“I don’t know how many new songs I’m gonna play tonight,” said Green in an interview before the show. “They’re new and it takes a while to get a song feeling good.”
Nonetheless, Green performed two new tracks from his upcoming album to a very receptive audience.
Of the two, “Oh Sister,” a song written for the singer’s sibling, received loud applause from the audience.
“That song is pretty serious, but that’s kinda how I write songs,” said Green. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been through something with your mother, father, your brother, your aunt, your uncle. You can replace that word, ‘sister,’ with whoever you’ve been through something like that with.”
“Body in A Box,” a song that could be perceived as Green’s will and testament, also played with the crowd’s heartstrings. The singer introduced the track by saying he had received an email from someone, explaining that their friend had lost his son, Isaiah, in an explosion in Alberta. Once in his son’s truck, the last place he had been before passing away, the man turned on the sound system to hear the song in question.
After the heart wrenching performance, the man made his way to the stage and took time to thank Green for his compassion.
Green is used to drawing from personal experiences when writing songs. Little Hell, his new album set to be released in June, is nothing less than a culmination of his thoughts and emotions.
“I wrote some songs about my family, and there’s some songs about being married and there’s song that I wrote from lyrics I wrote when I was 16,” said Green.
Like his sophomore album, Bring Me Your Love, the band recorded tracks in Hamilton’s Catherine North Studios, a converted church space.
Green wanted to recreate the last album’s feel, but without Dan Achen, the studio’s owner who passed away last March, Green’s first efforts at recording Little Hell proved themselves to be worthy of the album’s name.
“I thought it was gonna be this great idea to sort of pay homage to him,” said Green. “But then when the first week went by and everything was going wrong, I thought this was a really bad idea to try and recreate the vibe.”
From dysfunctional tape recorders and temperamental equipment, Green and his band pushed through and produced an album that Green said he is proud of.
Fans can expect some changes in the album’s feel. Surely, Green’s signature vocals and rhythms will be present, but the singer experimented with other sounds too, recording all of the electric guitar tracks on a small amp from the 1950s.
“A couple of months ago, I said in an interview that I didn’t want to make people dance, that I want to make them cry. But I feel I have to take that back. There’s a few songs on this record that are so danceable,” said Green.
“I know there will be some people that just want me to make a record that’s just me sitting with a guitar. But I won’t do that. Maybe I’ll do that sometime, but right now, I write song and the way they sound in my head is the way I put them on tape and you just hope that someone will get it.”