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Allison Louise Crowe (born November 16, 1981) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist from Nanaimomarker, British Columbiamarker who now also lives in Corner Brookmarker, Newfoundland and Labradormarker, communities spanning the breadth of Canada. Crowe records on her own record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. (formed in 2003) and releases her original music under Creative Commons licensing.

History

Allison Crowe began performing professionally in 1996, at age 15, doing regular sets in the coffee-houses and bars of Vancouver Islandmarker. Crowe's recording debut came in 2001, with an EP subsequently reissued (in 2003) as Lisa’s Song + 6 Songs. Her first full-length albums, Secrets and Tidings, were released in 2004, when Crowe was 22. (Tidings was originally released in EP form in 2003.) Allison Crowe: Live at Wood Hall, a double concert album, was released in July 2005. A DVD featuring live-in-the-studio performances of Tidings songs was created for her fan club in November 2005.

Crowe, of Scottish, Irish, and Manxmarker descent, grew up surrounded by jazz, classical and rock music, and discovered additional influences on her own such as Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, Tori Amos and Counting Crows. She plays music of all these genres, making her difficult to categorize: in Amazon.com’s downloads, she has simultaneously been in the top three on the Rock Singer-Songwriters, Hymns, Blues, Jazz, Broadwaymarker and British & Celtic Folk charts. "Drawing from classical, jazz, pop and gospel sources, the young singer has created singular, inspiring music both in the studio and in the concert hall.” (Joseph Blake, Victoria Times Colonist, March 24, 2005).

Crowe’s most mentioned characteristics are her remarkable live performance ability and her distinctive voice, the natural force of which has been compared to that of Mahalia Jackson. "With the soul of Janis Joplin and the tenderness of fellow Canuck Sarah McLachlan, Crowe rocks with her own unique brand of roots charm." (David McPherson, Exclaim!, October 5, 2004). She accompanies herself on guitar and the piano, on which she has been classically trained. Her physical, percussive, piano style has been likened to that of R&B and rock and roll pioneers such as Fats Domino. She is largely a solo performer, though she has been part of bands as well, notably in a trio format as the Allison Crowe Band (2000 to 2003). Her passionate, visceral style has been referred to as “Elton John meets Édith Piaf” (Clodagh O’Connell, Vancouver Courier, May 23, 2001).

Crowe mostly performs her own songs, which she has been quoted as saying vary among rock, jazz and folk, with lyrics and an intensity that has been compared to that of Laura Nyro, Eddie Vedder, Tori Amos and Patti Smith. "Ever wonder what it would have been like to listen to a gifted singer/songwriter from Saskatchewan in a small, intimate hall before she became Joni Mitchell? Don't fret the missed opportunity. There's no need to turn back the clock. Check out Allison Crowe," says Robert Reid in The Record.

"Whether I'm Wrong", an original song of social conscience penned in early 2003, has been featured by the UNESCO-endorsed New Songs for Peace initiative. Crowe is also acclaimed for her interpretations of songs by a wide variety of composers, from Jerome Kern to Pearl Jam, including Lennon/McCartney and fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Her cover of Cohen’s "Hallelujah" was named Record of the Week by Record of the Day (UK) in August 2004 and again in November 2005.

Crowe has toured across Canada and in the northeastern United States as headliner. Two one-hour television specials have been broadcast across Canada, with her Allison Crowe: Tidings special telecast each December since 2003.

Allison Crowe pre-concert, Munich, 2005


In late 2005 she performed for the first time in western Europe, with concerts in Dublinmarker, London, Munichmarker, Frankfurtmarker, Amsterdammarker and Paris.

In the Spring of 2006, Allison Crowe toured coast-to-coast in her homeland, covering most of the distance by VIA Rail Canada train on the "Rock'n'Rail Revue".

In October 2006, Allison Crowe released a new album, This Little Bird, which she began recording in February 2006 in her new home of Corner Brookmarker. The album was completed some 6000 kilometres west, on Vancouver Islandmarker, and Salt Spring Islandmarker, British Columbiamarker.

Following the release of This Little Bird, Allison Crowe visited England, Ireland, and Scotland on a concert tour. In 2007 Crowe's touring included a series of concerts across North America and a return to Europe where she performed to great acclaim at the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival in Durnessmarker, Scotland. The event was subsequently crowned the "UK's Best New Festival".

Allison Crowe, Trinity College, Dublin


Piano, guitar and lead vocal tracks for two albums were recorded by Allison Crowe throughout 2007 and early 2008. One release, with the working title of Aquarius Rising, is anticipated to include expanded instrumentation and orchestration. In May 2008 Crowe released an eclectic, acoustic, song collection called Little Light.

Allison Crowe in concert, NYC


In May 2009 she was prevented from performing in Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England after being turned away by British officials at Gatwick Airport for not having a "Certificate of Sponsorship". This requirement of a controversial new "anti-terrorism" and "illegal immigration" policy in the UK is not shared by countries of continental Europe and Crowe's tour with her band resumed days later in Germany.

Crowe's touring band, her first since 2003, comprises Billie Woods on guitar, Dave Baird on bass, and Laurent Boucher on percussion. This quartet has toured Canada's Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as continental Europe.

Following a string of successful concert performances in Germanymarker, the Czech Republicmarker, and Austriamarker, Allison Crowe returned home to Canada and during the Summer of 2009 selected songs for a new album to be titled Spiral. Some of this collection comprises never-heard songs from Aquarius Rising (those for which orchestration was not found in 2007), along with new originals and cover songs.

Discography

After learning how the mainstream recording industry operates, in 2003, inspired by the examples of Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennitt, and Creative Commons licensing opening new avenues for musicians, Allison Crowe launched her own record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. She has released the following albums independently.

Albums



Little Light (2008)


Compilations

  • Open Minds Open Windows: Songwriter's Stories (2003) West coast Canadian musicians
  • It Was 40 Years Ago Today (2004) indie, punk, alternative tribute to The Beatles
  • Christmas in Rock Vol. 4 (2005) German release of Christmas songs
  • Cohen Covered (2008) Mojo tribute compilation


Videos

  • Inside Pandora’s Box: Allison Crowe (2002) (one-hour television broadcast in Canada)
  • Allison Crowe: Tidings (2003) (one-hour television broadcast annually in Canada)
  • Tidings (2005) (DVD fan-club-only release)


Allison Crowe "Tidings" video capture


Cover Songs

Acclaimed as a songwriter and live performer, Allison Crowe's reputation and audience worldwide is also based significantly on her intrepetations of songs in the popular music canon alongside classical and traditional works, and songs from musical theatre, especially Broadwaymarker.

This unique aspect of Crowe's artistry, combining original material with a range of covers to equal praise and draw, has been commented upon extensively in print and broadcast media, including a November 2008 BBC radio documentary, "The Fourth, The Fifth, The Minor Fall". Her interpretations of Leonard Cohen songs have received particular recognition in features by BBC Radio and MOJO magazine. Crowe's single/first take recording of Hallelujah was slated to be the soundtrack to a quirky scene in the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster, Watchmen, before being replaced by a Cohen recording. "I originally had a different version of 'Hallelujah' on that scene (involving Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II) - it was the version by Allison Crowe, and it was really beautiful. Too beautiful, as it turned out..." explains the movie's Director Zack Snyder. In another interview, Snyder explained that Crowe's recording is "too romantic" and "too sexy" for the scene which is meant to come across as ironic and "ridiculous".

Some of the most artistically and commercially successful cover songs in Crowe's recorded and published repertoire include:



In addition to these prominent examples of studio and live tracks there are numerous other cover songs which have been performed by Allison Crowe. Only those interpretations which have been officially released on recordings are noted here.

References

  1. [1]New Songs for Peace
  2. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/story/2009/05/25/crowe-britain.html


External links




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