Fast forward two decades: City and Colour started in 2005 as a scaled-down side project from Green’s main band, a Canadian Post Punk five piece called Alexisonfire. City and Colour’s first album, Sometimes, featured little beyond Green’s expressive, high-pitched voice and an acoustic guitar.Sometimes drew more attention than Green anticipated, leading to additional albums every couple of years, each a more sonically ornate and commercially successful affair than the last — his current backing band includes former Greenhornes bassist Jack Lawrence — which eventually led to his departure from Alexisonfire in 2011.
City and Colour’s fifth and most recent full-length, 2015’s If I Should Go Before You, is the most textured and visceral effort yet, kicking off with “Woman,” a nine-minute mood piece rife with echoing guitars, booming drums and Green’s high-lonesome voice, which continually pleads that he is waiting to resurrect his love with the woman in question.
“Anyone who likes me has to appreciate that I like different styles of music,” Green said about “Woman” and its sonic proclivities in an interview earlier this year with The Red & Black. “I’m not interested in making records because certain people might like them. For me, I started writing the riff for ‘Woman,’ and in my head I just thought, ‘Why not make this into something? It’s my record.’ It was a conscious decision to make a long song and put it on first. It’s one of my favorite songs to play live.”
City and Colour’s recent singles, “Peaceful Road” and “Rain,” both cut in Nashville during the If I Should Go Before You sessions, are scaled back and intimate, coming off like Jeff Buckley crossed with Jimmie Dale Gilmore — which means moody, Country-influenced efforts that could lead to yet another stylistic shift in Green’s future.