City and Colour – Little Hell (Dine Alone / Universal Music Canada)

In much the same manner that Sam Beam has seen Iron & Wine evolve from bedroom recordings into the full-on group they are today, Dallas Green has done much the same with City and Colour. In both cases, I believe that beam and Green both realized that as intimate and personal as bedroom recordings can be for the listener, they could be rather limiting musically after a period of time. Green’s penchant for writing heartfelt songs remains fully intact, broadening his sound to include flourishes of cello on Silver & Gold and Northern Wind while the slide guitar on Natural Disaster is beautiful. There is a starkness and honesty to songs like The Grand Optimist and O Sister that makes Little Hell ten times the record that I was expecting it to be.