Sarah Burke here with a recommendation for an incredible record to put on your radar for the weekend. City and Colour’s A Pill for Loneliness is Dallas Green’s first full-length studio album since 2015, and number six for City and Colour. Let’s start with the name of the record…
Green reflects: “I wrote a lot of dark songs and wrapped them in the most beautiful sounds we could find… I had to write these songs in order to get out of my own head first. If someone can listen and relate to what I’m saying, my duty as a writer is fulfilled in the best way possible…”
Green was watching the news one day when he learned about a new treatment being developed at the University of Chicago, thinking about his experience with loneliness over the years. The conclusion he arrived at was this; music was, is, and always will be his pill for loneliness. I couldn’t agree more.
A lot of these thoughts and emotions came to Green while heavily touring in support of his last album. He says, “We all felt worried about the world, and I started writing. Everything I came up with was sad or observational.”
This record starts a new chapter for Green in a few ways. Firstly, it’s the first City and Colour studio album to be released on his new label, Still Records, an imprint of Dine Alone Records where his music began. When I last interviewed Dallas, he spoke at great length about having a home for other artists to make music the way they want to, just like he did in the beginning. He recently released Ben Rogers’ Wildfire and cites that project as inspiration towards his new music. You’ll hear more about that on North Americana today (see airtimes below). Another element of the new chapter is the way in which Green recorded the album:
“Usually, I would take two weeks, cut a record, and that’s it…for the new album, I had a session, walked away, did a bunch of other things, and returned a little while later. It was beneficial to have the space. There was no plan. We could find different sounds and experiment. It came from the same place of just me and an acoustic guitar at the inception, but we added so much more. It was a group effort to find the best way to present these tunes. Jacquire and I often talk deeply about life. It was our first chance to work together, and we just clicked.”
Jacquire King is three-time Grammy-winning producer known for his work with Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, and Norah Jones.
You’ve been hearing “Astronaut” on North Americana, the second track on the new album. Green carefully admits this song is about how relationships fade in and out of his life:
“I always think of the relationships in my life that have been fractured because I ended up doing what I do for a living…I’m always gone, wandering around and singing my song, however; it weighs on my family and friends. I’m asking for one more year. I left home at 21-years-old to go play my guitar. It’s lonely, but it’s because I yearn to wander. I’m aware of how lucky I am.”
Continuing with the dark themes Green finds familiar and comfortable, he says, “Strangers” is about how you will never truly know another human being…You’ll never really understand what it’s like to be inside someone else’s brain or heart. So, we need to appreciate the differences. If we do, maybe we can live better with one another.”
I’ll play you another new song from the album called “Mountain of Madness” which was written when a shaken Dallas Green heard about the Paris Attacks in November 2015. His friend Julian Dorio was playing drums for Eagles of Death Metal that night at the Bataclan and was lucky to survive.
I feel like I say this with every new release from City and Colour; as dark and lonely as the music is, there is always hope shining through. Hope for less loneliness, less judgement & less loss. As always, Green is always searching for humans to be better to one another.
Catch the City and Colour ‘A Pill for Loneliness’ Special all day Friday, October 4th on North Americana:
6am ET | 9am ET | 12pm ET | 3pm ET | 6pm ET | 9pm ET
With a new album, yes, that means there are tour dates beginning October 9th through November 29th both in Canada & the US. Find the date near you! https://cityandcolour.com/
*Vinyl-enthusiasts, you will want to hit this link too: https://cityandcolour.store-08.com/music/
Find our SiriusXM session with City and Colour: