Live albums can be a bit of a funny thing. No matter how good they are, you’re never going to listen to a live recording and get the same feelings that you’d have from being there in the flesh. Yet, despite that, sometimes there comes a live record that’s capable of putting you as close to being fully immersed in the action (or lack of it in this case) as physically possible.
Dallas Green, otherwise known under the guise of City & Colour (and as guitarist/vocalist for Alexisonfire), shares with us his new live album, ‘Guide Me Back Home’; a collection of live recordings from some of the shows from his solo tour across Canada last year.
Across a whopping 20-track set list (that’s a delightfully content-full set of one hour and 38 minutes none-the-less), Green eases through his back-catalogue of soft churning folk melodies that can soothe even the darkest of souls.
It’s difficult to pick out individual highlights from the record because, despite being from a host of different nights of a tour, it still feels like one single live performance that’s a fascinating listen. That’s owed a lot to the production too, as for the most part this could easily be mistake for a studio album and you’d struggle to tell otherwise.
Be it the sickly sweet opener of ‘Forgive Me/Two Coins’, the tender and springy tones of ‘Silver And Gold’ and ‘Hello, I’m In Delaware’, or the softly wobbling synth-coated on ‘As Much As I Ever Could’, the recording quality here is second to none, and Green‘s vocals dare not miss a note.
“Try to keep your mean tweets to a minimum” is the comical pre-song message to the beautiful ‘We Found Each Other In The Dark’, and it’s one of a few messages that we hear from Green, from contexts behind song meanings, anecdotal stories of song-writing (‘Casey’s Song’), and generally attempting to re-instill a sense of hope amid the state of the world (‘Silver And Gold’). He confesses the tour was largely down to Donald Trump becoming President too, which might be the first thing that man has done that’s good.
While live albums may not be everyone’s cup of tea, ‘Guide Me Back Home’ actually feels like one – perfectly warm and comforting, soothing and sweet, while its bitter notes in its lyrical sincerity portray the wise words of the artist behind them. If you can’t fall even a little bit in love with this record, you may just have a heart of stone.