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Allison Crowe / Blog

Coming Ashore: Allison Crowe and Band with Recordings and Concert Joy

Bi-coastal musician, who’s cameoed in the latest Superman movie and toured with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, brings her band to Canada's mainland for the first time

Islander Allison Crowe (vocals, piano, guitar, fiddle, bodhran) and bandmates Billie Woods (guitar, vox), Lin Lin (cello, vox), and Dave Baird (bass) bring their singular hybrid of Canadiana, Celtic, jazz, roots, folk, soul and original rock to mainland Canada with a concert at Vancouver’s St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Ave.) on Friday, November 13 at 8pm.

This weekend the group's in recording sessions at White Rock’s storied Turtle studios with Engineer/Producer Larry Anschell (Pearl Jam, Bif Naked, Sarah McLachlan) – capturing what will be, either, Crowe’s fifth album of 2015 (including a 21-song curated collection), or her, first release of 2016.

“Sylvan Hour is truly a masterpiece”, says pioneering culture blog Muruch of Crowe’s Springtime offering. “The music seems to rise from deep with her chest, sometimes ripping out of her throat in full roar, other times being restrained and shaped with the skill of a master sculptor.”

And, her newest song collection to reach ears carries forward with winning praise: “Newfoundland Vinyl 3 by Allison Crowe brings the beautiful winter breeze early,” says The Celtic Music Fan. “Allison’s music offers an “unique listening experience as I don’t think I have met a kind of style or recording like hers. The styles vary from traditional to modern… Fiddlers Green, The Irish Rover will appeal to lovers of Irish music. While the rest are infused in folk, pop and blues style… Allison Crowe’s arrangements are simple and they exude an intimate air which is rare these days, in a world where music is overblown or over-produced. You get the sense of organic simplicity in each track. It’s the feeling of coming home after a long hard day from work.”

“Further jaunts and ‘me boys’ abound with Crowe bringing a joyous appreciation to the traditional folk roots of the songwriting and authentic presentations… This is definitely traditional fare delivered with genuine, folk-honest class” notes Some Diurnal Aural Awe. “A fine guitarist and an absolutely stunning pianist, Ms Crowe plays and sings with a genuine passion that is completely void of vacuous histrionics. She skates the edges of soulful folk and folky soul with a commanding ease… With this release she accomplishes what few artists even attempt” is the comment @ “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll”.

Out now is Souling (Bonus Tracks Edition)” – an album which expands upon Allison Crowe’s popular acapella release of last Christmas season. This year she’s added one traditional carol plus fresh takes on the secular holiday songbook. With characteristic distinction, Crowe’s crystalline pure approach brings new emotional colour to “Blue Christmas” and other classics.

Allison Crowe with Band: Revolution on its Way

Allison Crowe, the amazing Nanaimo, Vancouver Island-born musician, home in Newfoundland for a decade now, is here in British Columbia this month to resume the launch of a new band and creative phase.

In the record-melting heat of this Summer, Crowe (vocals, piano, guitar, bodhran, fiddle) and bandmates Billie Woods (guitar, vox), Celine Greb (cello, vox) and Dave Baird (bass) performed their first shows. The group’s hybrid of Canadiana, Celtic, jazz, roots, folk, soul and original rock is next on-stage: October 23 in Sidney’s Charlie White Theatre; October 30 at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre; and November 13 at Vancouver’s St. James Hall. (NB “Tidings”, Allison Crowe’s Christmastime concert series, resumes next year in BC.)

Between concert dates the band is in sessions at Turtle studios in White Rock, BC with engineer/producer Larry Anschell (Pearl Jam, Bif Naked, Sarah McLachlan). Several of Allison Crowe’s 15 album releases, including the classics “Tidings” and “Live at Wood Hall”, have been captured by Anschell and his audio team.

Capping more than a decade of primarily solo touring and recording, Crowe has three releases coming this season.

"Muruch.com Presents: Allison Crowe”, out this week via Bandcamp, is a 21-song anthology and playlist curated by one of the first, and now longest-running, legal-mp3 music websites. The West Virginia-based culture blog gathers its personal favourites from her recorded repertoire explaining: “Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe has long been Muruch’s musical mascot, so it seemed fitting to celebrate her music along with Muruch.com’s 15th anniversary.”

October 20, 2015 brings the release of “Newfoundland Vinyl 3” (on Bandcamp, iTunes et al), newest in the acclaimed series of albums refreshing folk, traditional, and popular music of Canada’s Atlantic coast. Waltzes, parlour songs, rousing tunes of land and sea emerge from Crowe’s role as Musical Director with Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s hit show, “Newfoundland Vinyl”, at the annual Gros Morne Theatre Festival.

Allison Crowe’s bond with the TNL family, and the region’s wonderful musicians and actors, provides inspiration as well for “Souling (Bonus Tracks Edition)” out this October 27 (worldwide through all major digital outlets). Expanding upon 2014’s singular all-acappella collection of sacred and traditional Christmas carols she performs – acappella and with choral-focus – select songs of heart and hearth from the popular songbook.

Concert, recording, and other Allison Crowe news is found on the artist’s original website @ http://allisoncrowe.com soon to merge with a band site currently @ http://www.allisoncrowe.com/wordpress

Allison Crowe's Artist Subscription Launch

Allison Crowe’s artist “subscription” launches!

It’s a new way forward for independent music-makers and music-lovers on Bandcamp – which has hosted Allison’s music for years.

An artist can now share their own creative flow individually and directly (as well as being part of such global music-streaming subscription services as Spotify, Tidal and all).

This subscription, for $40 USD per year, gives you all the new music Allison Crowe creates – delivered instantly to you via the Bandcamp app for iOS and Android. The music is available for continual streaming, and for permanent download (in your choice of digital audio formats).

By subscribing you also receive – as downloads and for streaming – all the music recordings from Rubenesque Records, Allison’s label: “Lisa’s Song + 6 Songs”; “secrets”; “Tidings”; “Live at Wood Hall”; “This Little Bird”; “Little Light”; “Spiral”; “Arthur/Up to the Mountain”; “Tidings Concert”; "Newfoundland Vinyl"; "Heavy Graces"; "Tarry Trousers"; "Souling"; "Newfoundland Vinyl II"; “Crowe: Covers, Live + Rare”; and "Songbook".

The universe as it unfolds also includes access to the Allison Crowe fan community, and a 15% discount on all physical merchandise eg. CDs, LPs (and things Allison’s yet to conceive or create).

The doors of perception are opening wider – Allison and Link, Rubenesque’s top-dog, welcome you @ http://music.allisoncrowe.com/subscribe

"Sylvan Hour" Nears

“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.

"Souling" Songs from Allison Crowe - Part II

(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.

"Souling" Songs from Allison Crowe - Part I

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.

Unexpected Diversion Ahead

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

16 Songs - Video Album

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.

20 Down: “Everyone is attached to singer Crowe (7)”

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 :)

Allison Crowe Drives to New Lands: “Heavy Graces” Tour on Deck - Part II

“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