As I write these posts, I’m focusing more on hitting different scenes in my life than evenly covering the genres I enjoy. This particular album just happens to kill two birds with one stone. I first heard Dallas Green when a friend sent me a link to a Purevolume page with a couple of acoustic demos he had done. Despite my hesitation about artists who release music under their own name, I gave it a listen. I was enamored.
Dallas Green, who later began releasing music under the moniker City and Colour, painted exactly the kind of acoustic music I had been searching for, though I didn’t know it. Yes, I appreciated the sometimes-mellow, sometimes-raucous emo of Dashboard Confessional, but this was incredibly deeper, even while addressing the same topic. I kept those two poignant demos in my music library for years, not knowing Dallas had released a full-length album. Fast forward to the early spring of 2010 when I finally got my hands on Sometimes. As life had begun to peek out of the frozen world around me, relationship troubles had left a wake in my recent past. I came across this collection of songs that, to me, are the epitome of acoustic songwriting.
Over the course of ten tracks, Dallas reflects on many issues surrounding relationships from many perspectives, all while staying firmly planted in mature composition and lyricism. His clear and powerful voice wanders then soars amid complex acoustic guitar parts which never rely on bland, over-used chords. Unlike the early demos, the album has a bit of polish and production, though not enough to distract from the personal, singer-songwriter feel. I admit that the lyrics don’t tread into weighty or eternal matters on this release, but considering the subject, the diction and focus of the songs leave the average work of this type in the dust. For example, in the title track he questions his beloved while simultaneously exploring the nature of true love:
If I was a simple man
Would we still walk hand-in-hand?
If I suddenly went blind
Would you still look in my eyes?
What happens when I grow old
And all my stories have been told?
Will your heart still race for me
Or will it march to a new beat?
If I was a simple man
The rest of the songs similarly balance the emotions of romance with somber introspection. They are mostly slow, deliberate, and crafted as they reveal the writer’s heart in some of the most intimate sonic settings I’ve ever heard. I cherish this album in particular since City and Colour took a turn toward more of a folk sound in later efforts. This one is stored safely in time, a snapshot of what melancholy music should be.
You can find the soulful perfection of Sometimes on Spotify or Amazon.