Dallas Green was born with an interesting story to his name.
"That's true," the Canadian singer-songwriter says of the origin of his moniker. "My mom wanted to name me something else, I guess a plainer name, and my dad wasn't going for it."
Instead, his parents named their son after former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green, in honor of the baseball team's 1980 World Series victory. And it was all thanks to his father, who had placed a bet on the winning team.
"When they won, my dad was like, 'We made money out of him; we're naming [our son] after him,'?" Green laughs.
Fast-forward some 30-plus years, and the artist has made a different name for himself as City and Colour: "City" for Dallas and "Colour" for Green.
"I didn't wanna call it Dallas Green," he says of his solo act. "It didn't make me feel comfortable at all. [I didn't want to see] people wearing my T-shirt with my name on it. It allowed me to be whatever I wanted it to be."
Green's music is classified as folk-rock, but the singer comes from a diverse musical background. Before going solo as City and Colour, he was the main vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the posthardcore band Alexisonfire.
"I was always into different types of music," he explains. "With Alexisonfire, that was the band we gained notoriety in. But even while I was playing with them, I was making quieter music on my own."
Demos of Green's softer sound eventually found their way onto the internet — and clicked with fans.
"That's when I decided, Oh, I'll make a record with all these other songs," he recalls. "When I first put it out, I didn't think much was gonna happen, but then it sort of grew, and I was in both at the same time but had to pick one because I was sort of starting to have a nervous breakdown."
So City and Colour it was. In 2005, he kicked off his full-time solo gig. Since then, he's released several albums and singles. He formed a duo with Pink called You + Me to create the album Rose Ave., a project he describes as "a fun thing we did as lab rats." This summer, he'll join Alexisonfire on the band's mini Canadian tour. But Green's latest opus, If I Should Go Before You, has been called his best work to date.
"With every record, I try to be better," Green explains. "I think a little bit more maturity, knowing what I want, being a bit more confident as a singer and a writer and a player, having the band on it with me, and the relationship we had built together made it a much more cohesive experience."
Though Green says there's no specific meaning behind If I Should Go Before You, he admits there tends to be a recurring theme in his writing.
"A lot of it is about life and death," he says. "Those are two things that everyone thinks about. Those are the two certainties in the world. Hopefully, love plays a part in people's lives. I think those things I inherently write about. There are a lot of good songs about fun on a Friday night, but I don't feel like writing songs like that — it's not my cup of tea. When I'm writing stuff down, it has to do with things like [life and death]."
Music aside, Green is big on supporting causes and giving back. Until February 14, all proceeds from sales of his "Woman" and "The Girl" T-shirts — named after two of his songs — were donated to Planned Parenthood. And shortly after his current tour is over, he will embark on a solo Canadian tour, where $1 from every ticket sale will be donated to MusiCounts, a nonprofit in Canada whose mission is to ensure all children have access to music education.
"I've been very lucky in my life to be able to do everything I love doing," he humbly admits. "If you're in a position where you can give back, you should. It's not much, but it's something. I think that's my responsibility."
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