in Music

Underrated Artist: City and Colour

city-and-colour

If you sometimes wish there was an artist that was a mix of Bon Iver, John Mayer, and Death Cab for Cutie, you’ve hit the jackpot.

City and Colour, the one-man band name of singer-songwriter Dallas Green, has the soulful nature of Bon Iver, the guitar skills of John Mayer, and the thought-provoking lyrics of Death Cab.

sorrowing man, look how worn you’ve become.
you once were lord of the barren sea.
there’s blood on our hands.
in this perfect madness you’re living on borrowed time.

I discovered him on a whim from a song that someone posted on Tumblr; I’m a very picky person when it comes to musical artists – there are so few artists that you can listen to without getting sick of them. Sure, I love dubstep and MTV Top 20 songs as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want something that will really speak to you.

I grew up playing classical piano; auto-tune and electric beats can be great when used correctly, but a part of me will always resonate with artists that can make music with nothing more than their voice (their natural voice), and a set of strings.

City and Colour is beautiful in that way.

“Traipsing though the utter dark
Walking underneath the dead moonlight
Without any great concern
For what I’ve missed or how many bridges have burned

Like a bird who flies
Away from the North
My heart will roam
In search of warmth “

With or without an electronic backdrop, Green really stretches and explores what it means to be a musical artist. His lyrics are incredibly philosophical, his songs reading almost like poems, infused with melodies instead of just noise.

And that’s just it – his music isn’t just noise. The sounds he creates aren’t just rhythms and tones to fill the empty spaces in between silence, but rather something that enhances the quiet. So often, music these days are an unpleasant cacophony of thundering bass, enough to make your skull rattle. City and Colour is the exact opposite.

The first time I listened to him, I inadvertently found myself stopping everything else I was doing – I was so drawn to his music, and musings.

The single dress hangs on it’s own
The scent of perfume of he has to hold /unsure
A wasted life waiting on a dream
Hoping for things the way they used to be

When you listen to him, you have to listen to him with your whole heart.

Each of his songs tells a story, or asks a question. Coupled with his simplistic and soulful soundscape, you are immersed. His songs pose interesting questions he has about his own life experiences, thoughts on the world he sees, and wonderings about humanity. It’s wonderful on so many levels because he voices all the questions that the rest of us think about, but never discuss. 

Give City and Colour a listen, and you’ll find yourself asking all the right questions.

Sure there are beautiful people, in the city of lost angels
They’re living like they’re kings and queens, from some royal age
But fortune and fame won’t save you, when California
Is wiped out by the ring of fire or a great earthquake.

Related Links

  • Michelle Hsu

    Wow, thanks for the comment! Yeah I’ve only really listened to his new stuff. It seems like a lot of artists these days are really looking to use synthesizers and play around with more electronic sounds in their music, but Golden State is probably my favorite song by him, which is markedly electronic-less. Thanks, I’ll check out his old stuff too!