Music Review: City and Colour

City and Colour (Dallas Green) is one of those rare finds that soon become woven into the soundtrack of your life.

But it happens not like a binge-watched season of Breaking Bad, or a sudden obsession with orange juice that soon leaves you craving that next big high, but more like that crazy singer at the bar that is so fantastic, the place is silent, jaws agape.

Taken from his website, all rights reserved.
Dallas Green

The music is just a fantastic combination of organic, gritty lyricism combined with a very simple analog guitar folk flavor that is at home accompanying a starlit Jeep drive, a road trip to the coast, or passing some time at a coffee shop.

The guitar leaves an aftertaste of blues or jazz, I really can’t tell – it’s just a taste.  But there is some residual twang at the end of some chords that leaves you wondering if they were deliberate or a natural extension of the inherent flexibility in this music.

The lazy drums seem like an afterthought on many tracks – which is not necessarily a bad thing.  If this music had any more structure, it would be over processed and trying too hard.  Dallas has found the sweet spot here: dangling us between overly complicated instrumentation, and coffee-ground mucky lyrics so smoky, you can picture the Marlboro dangling from the singer’s lips as he sneaks sips of Maker’s between verses.

In the end, City and Colour’s complete picture of variety, lyrics, and instruments combines into a fantastic medley of catchy tunes.  It is versatile music at its best, with applicability in any situation yet it lacks a true identity.

Favorite tracks:

  • Body in a Box
  • Comin’ Home
  • Day Old Hate
  • The Girl
  • Hello, I’m in Delaware

Trail Report: Barlow Trail [Oregon]

Day 2 of our recent “Wheeling Extravaganza” had us headed to the Mt. Hood Wilderness to run the first section of Barlow Road.

This road is of significant historical value, as it part of the original Oregon Trail, and where landowners would setup toll booths to collect tolls from folks headed further West.

We aired down from the parking lot and were surprised to see about six inches of snow on the ground.  We started rolling about 3:00 PM.

Airing down in the parking lot. Is that an old 90s R&B track?
Initial descent.

The first section had quite a bit of snow, and it was a pretty good descent into the first valley.  As we progressed, the snow became thinner and thinner, eventually disappearing completely.

This is not really a Jeep trail per se, but I bet a car could get hung up in some spots if the driver was not careful.

Some of the water crossings were also very deep, so I am glad we left the Fiesta at home.

The snow all but disappeared at lower elevations.

Really cool mileposts lead the way and provide more historical relevancy as you make your way along the trail.

Old milepost.

We ended up pulling over and doing some shooting for about 30 minutes.

To be back home by dark, we turned off after the first section and made our way back to 26.

This trail has some amazing camping sites and I am really looking forward to coming back this Summer.

Trail Report: Archer’s Firebreak [Oregon]

November 16, 2013

The team met at the typical location – the Chevron station in North Plains around 9:00.

We were on the road by 9:30.

Arriving at the pull out to air down, we quickly let the air out and got on our way.

Getting to the start of Archer’s Fire Break is always long and boring, but the hill shortly after the trail begins is sure to get the grease moving in the gearbox.  This first climb through dense green forest and loose, gravelly mud is just a preview of what is to come.

Shortly after the first climb, the group found ourselves conquering an old foe – the “V Notch.”  This long, steady climb also has a very angled stance with the passenger often looking at the ground as it passes by.  The driver tries not to lose momentum even with their eyes closed.  The extreme angle seems like your Jeep is going to tip over at any moment.

Jeff tackling the top of the “V Notch.”

The rest of the trail is actually a bit on the  boring side.  It is a series of small segments that continually intersect with the main forest road.

Many of these segments are just long enough where you can get out of 4WL (or simply be in 6th gear at 4,000 RPMs) only to quickly have to re-engage.  Many of these trail segments also are pretty featureless, save for a few deep water fordings in the wet months, or some short rock gardens.

Jesse coming down one of the rock gardens along Archer’s Fire Break.

The real coup de gras waits at the end of the trail like a predator stalking its bored and tired prey.  The final stretch of this trail is called “Rocky Uphill” for, creatively, both the large  number of rocks that litter the path and the fact is in quite uphill.

There are two possible routes starting from the base of RH – the right and left – with the left side being rumored as the easier side.  On this trip however, they both seemed equally scaled.

The two options soon merge near the top, where the pitch of the hill steepens, the rocks increase in size, and the driver is again presented with two options: right or left.

Right seemed to be the easier choice.  The left side has seen vehicles roll over on previous days (granted it was a Toyota).

After Rocky Uphill, the trail continues with one last technical section, then meets up with the forest road for the drive back to air up and head home.

Frank, after a long and dirty day.