For Dallas Green, leaning on music has always been a way to cope, never more so than at the tail end of 2019 when Green experienced several tragedies: the loss of two close friends and, in tandem, a potential divorce from his wife of nearly a decade. (The pair have since mended the relationship). It was his own "mid-life crisis" that was then followed by a global pandemic and nothing but time to reflect. So he did what he had always done — turned to music.Green's ruminations on tragedy, loss, faith, and heartbreak all culminated in The Love Still Held Me Near, the seventh studio album of his solo project, City And Colour.

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With his latest record, Green sacrifices any sense of personal boundaries to expel the darkness and find light in the process. The majority of the record, while touching on actual tragic events, is more of an exercise in finding the silver linings.. 

The Love Still Held Me Near also happens to be the most sonically expansive record in Green's catalog thus far. Incorporating everything from gospel-like arrangements ("Underground"), classic rock ("The Love Still Held Me Near" and "The Water Is Coming"), to haunting Americana-laced folk ("The Things We Choose To Care About" and "Fucked It Up") the record plays out like a love letter to Green’s 25-plus-year career. 

In an interview with AP, Green details the complex process of writing a record amid tragedy, pandemics, and a mid-life crisis, his journey of self-discovery and perseverance, and falling back in love with life and art.  

With opener “Meant To Be,”you touch on these enormous losses you experienced in the past few years and wrestle with the idea of faith in the face of tragedy. What was it about the concept of faith that was so intriguing to you? 

I was raised Catholic and went to church when I was younger. I’ve always used religious imagery in my songs [in the past] and assumed that this song would turn into an intersection where I eulogize my friend — but also question these big ideas. The first line that came to me was “the sun kept on rising,” and it’s this idea where we show up and there are simple truths that we are taught, but since I was faced with these perfectly tailor-made mid-life crisis moments with nothing but time to ruminate on them, it became this anchor to dig deep and break myself out of all the shit I had been through. 

Despite going through your “mid-life crisis,” you were quite prolific,  writing and recording The Love Still Held Me Near and releasing your other band Alexisonfire’s fifth studio album, Otherness. Was creating a survival tactic?

Yes, and I had forgotten that for a little bit. So much had gone on in my life in 2019 and when the pandemic came crashing down on everyone, I was so confused and crushed by the fear of the unknown we were all experiencing. I didn’t even realize that I could use this time wisely, and it wasn’t until I started jamming with Alexisonfire where the clouds began to clear for me. We found our way back to this beautiful creative place again and it reminded me of how important that is to me. I don’t mean making a record and selling it to people, it’s really just about creating, and I have always leaned on music as a coping mechanism, for sure. 

The Love Still Held Me Near feels like the most diverse record of your catalog. Why has exploring different genres been so important to you?

I know it has always been confusing to some people that I can be one way in the band and different in the other. However, for me, it has always been natural to explore all of these different sounds and juxtapositions. As a child, I always loved the way a loud guitar sounds, but also loved the way a female voice sounds on an R&B track. I have also loved unlistenable metal , to simple bare-bones guitars with three part harmonies on top. I didn’t know that I would be able to cultivate all of these elements into my musical career, but if you had asked me 25 years ago given the chance, I would have said this is [exactly] what I always wanted to explore.

With this record, it was very important for me to make a raw, analog sounding record this time because the songs lend themselves to it. At the same time, I also was being very emotionally bare and felt the music needed to represent that. I love being able to have a record like this where I can have a song like “Things We Choose to Care About,” which is as sparse as you can make it,  but then have a song like “The Water Is Coming” that explodes into layers and layers of guitars.


[Photo by Vanessa Heins]

Looking at a song like “Without Warning,” you mention how you are not going to surrender in the face of hardship. Beyond music, how did you gain the perspective to find these silver linings in the midst of darkness?

It was a lot of conversations with loved ones and friends, and in those deep months in the pandemic, you had to do a lot of self-inventory. It was a lot of reading, writing, and simply just wanting to get rid of it. I realized that I was alive, was going to be okay,  [was] not focusing on the negative parts of everything, and [was] trying to find the light. The love and the light were the things that kept me sane, so that’s what I wanted the music to convey. There are a lot of people who are expecting this record to be a really sad record, but I think it’s full of joy and hope. 

With The Love Still Held Me Near being your seventh full-length album, what do you hope it does for your career and what do you look forward to the most about this next chapter? 

I’ve reached a point in my musical career where I have accomplished more than I ever thought I would. Something I realized in the middle of all of this is that I have everything I have ever wanted to have. I just hoped to be able to make a life creating music and to find an audience that listens to it. I needed it all to go away to realize what I do have. Making the record was all I needed.