Trent McClellan, from Cornerbrook, Newfoundland (where streets go this way, then that way, then, inexplicably, end) is smart and funny and he’s an alumni of Canada Reads, which makes us brothers, sort of. Trent travels a lot performing and it was during his travels that he wrote this piece for us, about City and Colour and “Little Hell”
Maybe the best way to discover a song is live. I was fortunate enough to get tickets to a City and Colour concert in Banff Alberta a number of years ago. Although I live in Calgary and could have caught the show there, any excuse to get to the Rockies is a good excuse. So off we went to the Banff Centre to watch the show. We were blown away. Dallas Green’s voice was incredible all night and pitch perfect. The band sounded so clear and tight that I felt like I was watching something special. I didn’t own the latest City and Colour album “Little Hell” nor had I heard it. As a result, many of the songs played in the show were new to me, but I enjoyed them all. One new song however stood out from the entire night. It stood taller than even the well-known hits. The song “Little Hell” just hit me in the chest hard like a Dustin Byfuglien body check. The lyrics to the song rang so true it was as if someone had taken a look inside my head and spilled the contents. It was a really cool, yet scary, thing to be honest. How could someone I’ve never met describe exactly how I feel about myself at times? “What if I can’t be all that you need me to be?” Jesus! That’s what I’ve feared in every relationship I’ve ever been in! “There’s a degree of difficulty in dealing with me” What? Sure, I can be difficult to be with at times. It takes a special person to take all of my imperfections but why is Dallas Green airing all my mental laundry? I think that in my head locker. I don’t share that with people. This dude with a supreme amount of talent feels like he’s not enough too and is going to belt that fact out for strangers? What? The lyrics were like someone confessing a fatal flaw that mirrored my own. The music was simple and pointed which always serves as the ideal route for vulnerability. Putting our ugly insecurities on display artistically is the greatest test for any creative. As a comedian, I’ve taken the lessons learned from “Little Hell” that night and now attempt to comically hang my laundry for strangers to see nightly. Some nights, it is indeed a little hell.