City And Colour Records Song For Oil Spill Relief Compilation
Plenty of musicians are angry about the BP oil spill that blanketed the Gulf Coast of the US for months. But City and Colour's Dallas Green has written and recorded a song about the disaster, called 'At the Bird's Foot,' that takes a different approach.
"I talk about the thing that I think nobody is really talking about: the 11 guys who died on the actual rig," says Green of the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.
"As much as I appreciate that people work for an oil company, and obviously [there] is concern with the families that are going to be affected by the oil spill and the wildlife -- it's like, 'Oh yeah, a lot of people died, as well.' So I bring that up. I never really write songs like that."
The Toronto singer-songwriter -- who is also in post-hardcore band Alexisonfire -- was traveling often at the time of the spill and clean-up attempts and read Time magazine's in-depth coverage while waiting at airports.
"It seemed like every one I was buying there was always some crazy new article about the oil spill," he says. "I think it crept into my subconscious and then I ended up writing a song about it. I just played my guitar and then started singing.
"The first thing I ever saw of it was a photo on the internet of one of the fires in the ocean where they had the controlled burns, where they were trying to burn out the oil," he explains. "And I just thought it was such a juxtaposition, there being a fire in the ocean. It was pretty haunting to me. So I wrote that line. I said, 'There's a fire in the ocean.' And I just wrote a song based on that line.
"I'm usually a pretty selfish person when it comes to songwriting. I usually write about myself, but it sort of arrived. I wrote it in a few hours, which is something that never happens for me."
The title, 'At the Bird's Foot,' was taken from an article he read just after the explosion and spill. "It talked about how the oil was now at the bird's foot, which is in regards to the fact that birds can only fly out so far before they have to come back to land and the oil had reached that point," Green explains. "It was basically getting worse and worse. That's how far it had reached the shore and I just thought that was a good title."
He recorded the song at Moneen frontman Kenny Bridges' house and contemplated what to do with it. Green didn't know if it made sense to save it for the next City and Colour album, "because it's sort of centralized, such a thing in itself," so he got the idea to team with a charity of some kind and release it as soon as possible.
"My management searched and searched and found out that Sophia Bush -- she's an actress [on 'One Tree Hill'] -- is apparently putting together a compilation with a bunch of bands on Vagrant Records, which happens to be the label I'm on in the States," he says.
The digital-only compilation will be out around October. No title or other artists have been confirmed.