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”.
“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."