“Sylvan Hour” arrives this Friday - May 1. Here’s the album’s front cover - and some word on a classic song collection: Discover this music from a remarkable artist at a personal and creative crossroads in her life. “Sylvan Hour” is an album of songs bridging west and east, piano and guitar, then and now… For fans of Allison Crowe at her purest, this is voice, one accompanying instrument – one take. Real-time performances in the sequence they’re played and sung by Allison in a log-home on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada. That afternoon the musician was in the midst of migrating from her birthplace of Nanaimo, BC, on Canada’s Pacific, to a new nest in Corner Brook, NL, on the Atlantic coast. Soon to fly east, Crowe bade farewell to those near and dear on western shores – including compatriot Kayla Schmah on Salt Spring, neighbouring Vancouver Island. Decades earlier Schmah’s parents had made an epic trek to the Pacific Northwest from Central Canada – in a repurposed donut truck. Planting themselves in the Gulf Islands archipelago, they lived at first in a converted parachute in the woods. From the ground up the home-steaders then built a family dwelling out of Douglas Fir – their “sylvan castle”. Allison and Kayla, as musicians had shared stages together from their teens onward (and, years later, becoming a film-scorer in Hollywood, Schmah brilliantly orchestrated and produced Crowe’s album “Spiral”.) Among the friends together on SSI this day was Ryan Adams (who, like Schmah was a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music and was en route to becoming an in-demand tv/film audio engineer in Los Angeles). With mics and a laptop set-up in the living-room, Adams captured this set of the newest songs in Allison’s repertoire – originals including “Skeletons and Spirits”, “Running”, and “Silence” as well as a trio of covers (interpreting songs famously by Joni Mitchell, The Lovin’ Spoonful and Aretha Franklin). Also gorgeous, but differently so, essentially group versions of most of these songs were released near the end of that same year (2006) on Allison Crowe’s album “This Little Bird” (the title track a celebration of her migration). “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” is the sole sylvan session recording released before – it’s presented now within the full hour of music for all time. Enjoy this most natural of talents – in this most natural of settings.
(In parallel fashion, the first season’s run of “Newfoundland Vinyl” brought forth Allison Crowe’s album of the same name – one of 2013’s top recordings. Culture blog Muruch praised it as a “lovely, vintage collection of traditional Irish and Canadian folk ballads, lively sea chanteys and drinking songs, parlour songs and country tunes” possessing “unique charm” and “the timeless beauty of a classic folk album”.) In 2003, (and expanded in 2004), Allison Crowe released Tidings – an album of singular interpretations - “River” (Joni Mitchell), “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen), “In My Life” (The Beatles) and more from the secular canon – alongside such favourite traditional carols as “Silent Night”, “The First Noel”, and “O Holy Night”. Tidings has proven to be a modern classic – “music for the season and all time”. This time out, as befits TNL’s telling of “A Christmas Carol”, Allison Crowe gives pure voice to the sacred songbook. “Souling” is: Soul Cake I Saw Three Ships That Night in Bethlehem (Don Oíche úd i mBeithil) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen The Wexford Carol The Holly and the Ivy In the Bleak Midwinter (Cranham) Ding Dong Merrily on High Once in Royal David’s City Wassail Song “Souling” is available now via Allison Crowe’s own website @ http://music.allisoncrowe.com/album/souling as well as on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/souling/id933188580 plus CD Baby @ http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/allisoncrowe10 and all major digital music outlets worldwide.
Allison Crowe’s gorgeous voice brings tidings of comfort and joy with “Souling” – her 11th full album release. The artist, one of our greatest living musicians, singer-songwriters and performers, has always created authentic music. With this newest song set her voice is heard wholly a cappella. The songs themselves have a purity of expression – a 21st century take on music of faith and spirit – sounds and themes aired by carollers and soulers of old. The genesis of “Souling” is found in the bond Allison Crowe’s formed with the creative family at Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador. Founded in 1979, this professional theatre company presents a dynamic and diverse repertoire of plays and maintains, as well, a strong commitment to youth theatre in the Atlantic Canada community. For these past three Summers TNL’s engaged Crowe as Musical Director of “Newfoundland Vinyl” - a perennial favourite at the annual Gros Morne Theatre Festival. Following another hit season at GMTF, in late August of this year TNL Artistic Associate SaraH McDonald invited the Corner Brook, NL-based musician to serve the same role with a vibrant production of “A Christmas Carol”. The Adaptation of this classic Charles Dickens story by playwright Jeff Pitcher, TNL’s Artistic Director, excited Crowe’s musical imagination – as did the desire of McDonald, the play’s Director, to incorporate songs in the style of Victorian Era carollers. So inspired, Allison Crowe immersed herself in curating the music for the abundantly-talented, multi-aged, choir of singers who’ll perform in “A Christmas Carol” at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre from November 27th – 30th, 2014. This artistic process of selection and arrangement led to her recording solo versions of those songs that will receive another distinct breath of life from the TNL vocal ensemble.
Stephen Fry, the wonderful English comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and activist, has open-sourced his newest memoir, “More Fool Me”. Fry and his publisher, Penguin Random House, cordially invite us all to “reinterpret it in any language or form, including text, data visualisation, app, audio and 3D modelling. Samples of text, metadata, imagery and audio from the new book and Fry’s previous memoir The Fry Chronicles, are available for download via a special WeTransfer Plus page. And Penguin Books is challenging people to turn them into their own innovative takes on Fry’s memoirs.” Allison’s mash-up brings together Stephen’s narration, with her music, and the filmic essence of Buster Keaton, from his silent era classic, “The General” – on the selected text’s theme of mental health. http://yourfry.com/interpretations/unexpected-diversion-ahead-4 Learn more about the “YourFry” project @ http://yourfry.com/ and hear it explained by Stephen Fry himself @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqahjME6Tbg And follow via Twitter hashtags #yourfry & #yourfry20mfm
We now know the song listing for Allison Crowe’s upcoming 16 Song music video series: Disease Why Circular Reasoning Creep There Is Doughnut Song Running Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters Spiral Sweet Dreams Effortless Josephine Double-Edged Swords Running for Home Alive and Breathing Throw Your Arms Around Me This new music video series launches September 9, 2014 (a shift from the September 2 date originally announced). A magical mystery tour of music with visuals from great artists and innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries - film-makers, animators, painters, photographers and more… - it’s a multi-media expression of the artist’s mission to make "Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music." ( http://allisoncrowe.com/bio.html ) This 16 song video album pairs Allison’s originals with some singular interpretations - underscoring an observation of Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, delightful chronicler “On Life, Love, Lust, & Leonard Cohen” – “Once you’ve heard one Allison Crowe song, You’ve heard one Allison Crowe song." ( http://1heckofaguy.com/2009/01/27/wedding-song-allison-crowes-small-masterwork ) It’s a season of cryptic crosswords and other, puzzling, fun. Here, now, are 16 visual clues – screenshots from each of the videos in the series. Some you may recognize, some you may not have seen before… Imagine which goes with which song in the set-list – this September details will be revealed, and matches will be made.
We’ve an head-start on The National Post’s Saturday Cryptic Crossword (August 9, 2014 edition) - the newest creation of a legendary partnership, one that’s central to these puzzles-within-a-puzzle becoming so loved in North America. (Cryptic crosswords originated in the United Kingdom where they’ve long been favourites.) “Hex” is the nom-de-plume of puzzle constructors Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, explains aficionado Barry Haldiman, “though one might think it is the effect of their cryptics on solvers' minds. They are the quintessential, or as they would clue ‘Ideal crazy quilt seats nine (14)’, ambassadors of wordplay puzzledom.” http://home.everestkc.net/nytxword/hexplex.htm “Cryptic Royalty” they’ve been crowned by The Nation. Of Cox & Rathvon’s decades-long artistry in such publications as The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Canada’s National Post, it’s said: “Their impact cannot be overestimated.” http://www.thenation.com/blog/176152/cryptic-royalty For a printable version of this sing-ular fun in pdf format – visit https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4apux86ICY4OHBSRTNwc3BYMDg/edit - answers to this NP Cryptic Crossword will be published across this land in the newspaper on Saturday, August 16. Often in this puzzling world, it can seem we just don’t have a clue. Not this time! Enjoy :)
“Weirdly typical” is how BC dean of Canuck rock writers, Tom Harrison, describes a new album from Allison Crowe – and that legend is key to any map of her course. She presents bi-coastal “Tidings” concerts each Christmas season in her homeland. These past two years Crowe’s focused on: recording (four acclaimed albums – “Tidings Concert”, “Newfoundland Vinyl”, “Heavy Graces”, and “Songbook”); dance (performing songs of Leonard Cohen on-stage with Canada’s brilliant Royal Winnipeg Ballet); theatre (musically directing Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s rollicking hit show, “Newfoundland Vinyl”); and film projects - one recording riveting in the trailer for a major indie motion picture (“The Pardon”), and cameoing, pretty much as herself, in “Man of Steel”- a #1 box-office Superman movie among the decade’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters.
Steering well clear of the corporate record industry’s shallows, Crowe’s integrity is as steadfast as her sound is remarkable – a double-helix of traits akin to the DNA of previous generations’ mavericks. “I’m a big Johnny Cash fan. And I’m a big Allison Crowe fan. So the combination to me seemed like an awesome opportunity if we could make it happen,” explains “Man of Steel” Director Zack Snyder. “Allison and I had talked about trying to get some of her music in one of my movies whenever we could – and I thought, well, if I just put her in the film then there’s no way that it won’t work. So, that’s where you get Allison from.”
For her next act, Allison Crowe returns to the international concert stage this May – with eight concerts upcoming in Europe: Bernau (03.05); Frankfurt (07.05); Freiburg (11.05); Neunkirchen (13.05); Inning (15.05); Florence (17.05); Münster (20.05); and Potsdam (22.05). The opening concert on this “Heavy Graces” tour quickly sold out – Ausverkaft! Full event calendar @ http://allisoncrowe.com/tour.html
For most of these dates, Crowe’s joined by special guest artist, and super-simpatico tour partner, Billie Woods http://www.facebook.com/billiewoodsmusic Woods’ distinctive vocal and nylon-string guitar style is rooted in Canada's Pacific Northwest and infused with the warmth and vitality of cultural rhythms of Brazil. From home-base on Salt Spring Island, BC, in “Canada’s banana belt”, she’s blended a life of passions - principally music and photography.
Crowe’s Road/Stage manager, Axel Dollheiser, hails from Bavaria and Salt Spring. popTrip Entertainment, (currently moving headquarters from Berlin, Germany to Toronto, Canada), is booking agent.
Toronto-based author and visual artist Lorette C. Luzajic concludes: “Not everyone can bring down the divine, not everyone can be vast and mythological or bring the gifts of the gods into a winter’s night. But Allison Crowe channels the spirit each and every time."
Some words about Allison Crowe from around the world @ http://www.allisoncrowe.com/pressquotes.html
end of Part II
She comes from a land of ice and snow. Some years more-so than others. And, like such phenomena, Allison Crowe’s preternatural talent, and her peerless body of music, is marked by a pure, crystalline, uniqueness.
"How can someone so small and young have such a big voice and write such heavy duty songs?,” legendary West-coast Canada musician and publisher Barry Newman found himself wondering upon discovering a teen-aged Crowe on a Vancouver Island stage in the year 2000. For a cover feature in Cosmic Debris, (the magazine he founded), Newman observed: “The inflections in her piano stylings were so mature too... there was a blues edge in there."
"The first thing you notice about Allison Crowe is her voice. Rich and dark, it seems to come from a place most singers can only dream of accessing. Then there are the songs. Filled with raw passion and accompanied by eloquent piano playing," notes Clodagh O'Connell, (The Courier, Rolling Stone+), in a maiden review of Crowe’s voyage to new lands.
Cultural critic for The Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria, BC, Adrian Chamberlain, also caught the artist in her early concert rounds: “(Listening to) Crowe is akin to sipping the richest of brandies.” The writer, himself a funk soul musician, explained: “Crowe's singing is tremendously powerful; almost operatic. When she digs into a sustained note, as she so often does, the voice is huge, rounded, with a dark timbre.”
The amazing sound crossed the main. Before long UK music maven Dave Henderson, (MOJO, Q and Kerrang!+), was tipping MOJO mag’s audience to this siren from o’er the sea: "Once famously described as possessing a style akin to 'Elton John meets Edith Piaf', the Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is renowned for her ability to blend control and melodrama."
Moving deeper into this century, the musician’s voice is ever more complex – striking on its own and, most frequently, accompanied by 88 hammers of the gods in the hands of a virtuoso. "You really have to see Allison Crowe live. The way she splits those notes, it's like light through a prism - all the colours of a song," says Canadian radio and television veteran Rick Dennis.
Eight years back, Crowe migrated from her island birth-place of Nanaimo, BC, on the Pacific Ocean, to Corner Brook, nestled on another lovely isle, Newfoundland – near the Viking Trail on Atlantic shores. Acoustic guitar, fiddle and tin-whistle now figure alongside voice and piano in her musical palette – creating rock, folk, jazz, roots, country, Celtic and more thrills. Her newest recording, (released globally April 28), is an addictive variant of a centuries-old song of the seacoast, “Tarry Trousers”.
end of Part I
Rock and roll!! Enriched by almost two years of focus on recording, film and theatre productions at home in Canada, Allison Crowe and the A-team, guided by the legendary road-meister Axel Dollheiser, resume international concert touring this Spring.
First up – May 2014 brings a return to some favourite venues in Germany and Italy, alongside wunderbar new music rooms:
03.05 - Siebenklang Musikfestspiele - Bernau bei Berlin 07.05 - Jazzlokal Mampf – Frankfurt 11.05 - Jazzhaus – Freiburg im Breisgau 13.05 - Stumm'sche Reithalle – Nuenkirchen (Saar) 15.05 - Inninger Spectacel – Inning am Ammersee 17.05 - Teatro del Sale - Florence 20.05 - Hot Jazz Club – Münster 22.05 - Lindenpark – Potsdam
Most dates feature Allison with very special guest Billie Woods also performing a set.
The tour-opening show is already sold out - Ausverkauft! Full details as they come together are found @ http://www.facebook.com/AllisonCroweMusic/events and http://allisoncrowe.com/tour.html
Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder discusses action of the newest Superman movie shot inside the historic Cassidy Inn pub on Vancouver Island, BC. Allison Crowe, in a role very familiar to the Canadian musician, appears in this scene with Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Ian Tracey (Ludlow), Carmen Lavigne (Chrissy), Howard Siegel (Weaver) and other members of the cast – actors whom it was a delight to meet and an honour to work alongside. Same goes for the privilege of working with the film’s amazing crew and production team - a stellar family of professionals united in creativity.
The Blu-Ray edition of “Man of Steel” released in late 2013, includes a feature called “Journey of Discovery”. Zack Snyder and many of the people involved walk us through the making of MoS from pretty much every angle. It’s extraordinary, and, rather than taking away from the movie magic – the explanations of how the science fiction epic comes together leave you more enthralled. It’s super – and fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKhcg6tLYLY