Allison Crowe Blog
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Aug. 16 2014
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!
Allison Crowe’s State of the Union this Canada & Memorial Days, Pretzelfest & Independence Day
Jul. 1 2014
North Americans mark an especially commemorative week – starting, eh, in this land of ours with Canada Day and, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial Day – Newfoundlander, comedian+ Rick Mercer notes the poignant dichotomy of July 1: “On the day we are supposed to be celebrating the flag, the flags are flying at half mast” in his blog @ http://rickmercer.blogspot.ca/2005/07/memorial-day-in-newfoundland.html This week rolls ahead with Pretzelfest, July 3 on Salt Spring Island, BC and rockets with July 4, Independence Day, celebrations across the USA.
Where e’er you be, and whatever the occasion, may you and yours know peace and joy alongside the best of health and times. Sláinte!
Here at Rubenesque Records we’re invigorated by Allison Crowe’s most recent, sensational, concerts in Europe. Now home, Allison’s already deep into production of this year’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival – as Musical Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s hit show, “Newfoundland Vinyl”.
“Newfoundland Vinyl” is back! And this time it’s “The “C” Side”. Allison Crowe has made this show into a perennial Festival favourite. The vinyl Newfoundland hits of the 1960's, 70's and 80's by Newfoundland's biggest recording stars are never- ending. From Harry Hibbs’ “The Wild Rover” to Eddy Coffey’s “Area Code 709” to Corey & Trina’s “Northern Lights of Labrador” Allison manages to lay bare the simple and beautiful melodies and lyrics of our most talented artists.”
The show spins each Tuesday and Friday from July 11 - August 29 at the GMTF – and the “incredibly talented and versatile cast”, says Allison, features the wonderful performing roster of musicians/actors: Colin Furlong, Craig Haley, Claire Hewlett, Amelia Manuel, Stephanie Payne, Keelan Purchase, and Marquita Walsh. With Adam Christopher Brake as Ed.
The show’s stellar cast is supported by a shining set of northern production lights: Director - Jeff Pitcher/Allison Crowe; Musical Director - Allison Crowe; Stage Manager - Effie Parsons; Set Design - Derek Butt; Costume Design - Lindsay Code; Original Sound Design - Dirk Ave; Original Lighting Design - Johnny Cann; and Sound Coordination & Lighting Coordination - Laura Penney.
On July 28, 2014, in a special, solo, performance, Allison Crowe Sings "Newfoundland Vinyl" and More - in GMTF's "Who's Darkening Our Door" Concert Series.
For info on these, and all, Gros Morne Theatre Festival shows (May 31-Sept. 13, 2014) - call 709-639-7238 or toll-free 1-877-243-2899 + visit http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com
To celebrate with the latest music and more from Allison Crowe, anyway, anyhow, anywhere you choose: http://music.allisoncrowe.com + http://www.youtube.com/user/Adrian22 + http://www.allisoncrowe.com/bio.html
Allison Crowe Drives to New Lands: “Heavy Graces” Tour on Deck
Apr. 24 2014
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 https://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
Allison Crowe Europe Tournee - May 2014
Mar. 24 2014
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
Beatlemania Hits Fab 50: Allison Crowe Performs
Jan. 10 2014
“Beatlemania, as it is called, affects all social classes and all levels of intelligence,” The New York Times reported in December 1963.
We’ll hear all manner of takes on similar themes over the coming month, with this February 7 marking the 50th anniversary of The Beatles landing at JFK International (New York City’s Idlewild airport rechristened on December 24, ’63 in tribute to the recently assassinated US President). The group’s appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show – broadcast over the three succeeding Sundays - electrified a new continent.
Plenty came before, and much has happened since, Pan Am Flight 101 delivered the Fab Four aboard a Boeing 707-331, known as the Clipper “Defiance”, to a world ready for joy and release.
Celebrating the musical legacy of John, Paul, George and Ringo – here’s Allison Crowe performing “In My Life” – captured in real-time by film director Alex Postowoi and crew and audio engineer Larry Anschell at Turtle Recording studios by the sea in White Rock, BC, Canada:
(This is an higher-fidelity video recording than has been previously available!)
"Something to Crowe About" Sings Telegram
Jan. 4 2014
Allison Crowe - photograph by Cory Hurley in The Western Star / The Telegram
"Something to Crowe about" sings The Telegram - sharing word of the discerning culture blog, Muruch , naming two of Allison Crowe's albums among the best of 2013 and one of her new original songs its top pick for the year.
The newspaper notes:
"The West Virginia-based Muruch placed Crowe’s album “Heavy Graces” at No. 10 and “Newfoundland Vinyl” at No. 2, second only to “Pure Heroine” by Lorde. The blog also selected Crowe’s “Words” from the “Heavy Graces” record as the top song of the year for its annual list of the 50 best songs of the year, which also found room for three cuts from “Newfoundland Vinyl”: “Black Velvet Band” (No. 12), “Men Who Die for a Living” (No. 18) and “Skipper Billy’s Wake” (No. 28)."
The Telegram is Newfoundland and Labrador's major daily newspaper. Pioneering website Muruch has been sharing favourite albums, live performances, films and literature online since 1999. The full article can be enjoyed @ http://www.thetelegram.com/Living/Entertainment/2014-01-02/article-3561458/Something-to-Crowe-about/1
Song of the Year, Top Albums Nods for Allison Crowe
Dec. 31 2013
“The difficult I’ll do right now, the impossible’ll take a little while”. That’s pretty much always been the way of musician Allison Crowe.
This year proves ”weirdly typical” as ever for the amazing bi-coastal Canadian artist - to quote a phrase from one of 2013’s fine reviews.
In it, Crowe’s released three peerless albums (“Newfoundland Vinyl”, “Heavy Graces”, and the compilation “Songbook”), musically directed a hit theatre show (TNL’s “Newfoundland Vinyl”), saw one song recording used brilliantly in a trailer for a major independent motion picture (“Hallelujah” w. “The Pardon”), and appeared, pretty much as herself, in one of the year’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters (“Man of Steel”).
Now ‘Top Song of the Year’ nod for Allison Crowe's "Words" comes from the annual list of Muruch, the passionate and uncompromising culture blog that’s been sharing favourite albums, live performances, films and literature online since 1999.
“Words”, from the album “Heavy Graces”, features, for the first time, Allison playing her Great-Grandfather’s fiddle (along with her singing, playing guitar, arranging, engineering, producing and all those things she regularly does!). A trio of songs from her "Newfoundland Vinyl" album, also released this year, are found in the Top 50: "Black Velvet Band" (12); "Men Who Die for a Living" (18); and "Skipper Billy's Wake" (28).
Artists joining Allison Crowe in the top ten picks are: Alice Boman; Trent Dabbs; Lorde; Vienna Teng; Foxygen; Imagine Dragons; MS MR; & Janelle Monae (feat. Erykah Badu). Enjoy videos and music – of “Words” and all of Muruch’s ‘Top 50 Songs’ @ http://www.muruch.com/2013/12/muruch-2013-top-songs.html
The West Virginia-based blog follows the song list with its Top 25 Albums – and Allison Crowe’s two new albums this year both land in the top ten. Remarking: “The top three are really interchangeable, they are far too brilliant and too different from each other to truly rank”, Muruch slots Crowe’s “Newfoundland Vinyl” second, book-ended by Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” (#1) and Foxygen’s “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” (#3).
Crowe’s tribute to songs of her Atlantic home region contains traditional tunes, such as “Black Velvet Band” as well as interpretations of such modern classics as “The Mobile Goat Song”, (a Tom Cahill-penned hit for Joan Morrissey), Gary O’Driscoll’s elegiac “Men Who Die for a Living” and Ron Hynes’ anthemic “Sonny’s Dream”. This set, released on vinyl, “plays like a lovely, vintage collection of traditional Irish and Canadian folk ballads, lively sea chanteys and drinking songs, parlour songs and country tunes with surprising retro, girl-pop harmonies woven throughout…full of dazzling melody and such a unique charm…Allison’s voice is so strong and spectacular,” says Muruch. “It has the timeless beauty of a classic folk album.”
“Heavy Graces” combines Allison Crowe’s newest original song recordings with singular covers of Leonard Cohen (“Famous Blue Raincoat”) and Pearl Jam (“Better Man”) – and this album occupies the tenth spot on the albums of the year list, as described by Muruch: “what a lush piece of work…a touch of Celtic folk in the instrumentation, haunting backing vocals and a slow building, seething tension until Allison unleashes her wail”. The complete list of top album picks – which also includes this year’s releases from Elton John, Molly Drake, Hem, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Janelle Monae and more – is available @ http://www.muruch.com/2013/12/muruch-2013-top-albums.html
Here’s to a very happy, healthy, New Year – one and all!
Words - Song of the Year
Dec. 24 2013
Fun Universe Brings Allison Crowe’s Music Home this Holiday Season
Nov. 24 2013
How does one of the world’s great musical voices, and most independent artists on the planet, land amidst a face-off between man and Superman in an Hollywood blockbuster?
“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.”
The film-maker, along with his stellar cast and crew, deliver insights into the production of this epic science fiction adventure, in “Journey of Discovery”, a just-released special feature of MoS in Blu-ray edition.
“(Zack) keeps trying to get me into movies and it’s amazing,” responds Crowe in the feature. “I first kinda met Zack over the internet about songs online... I think about four or five years ago the first one would have been the ‘Watchmen’ and he was looking to do ‘Hallelujah’. And then the second one we were looking at another song for ‘Sucker Punch’ and so now we have Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ and the altercation ensues…”
Allison Crowe with Zack Snyder on "Man of Steel" set - photo courtesy Clay Enos / Warner Bros.
The movie itself reveals how all the pieces fit – and it’s an exhilarating ride and humbling experience for the Canadian singer-songwriter. And it’s all inspiring.
“In an entertainment world that increasingly genuflects at the altar of instant fame, Crowe seems an anomaly, building her career slowly and carefully,” commented Times Colonist newspaper scribe Adrian Chamberlain some years back. Fine-tuned at the keyboard in arts reportage, (and an r’n’b combo), the writer noted how the “Nanaimo songbird seems uninterested in celebrity and its trappings”.
The universe is ever-expanding for the now Corner Brook, Newfoundland-based, Vancouver Island-born, Crowe, still her goals and values are constant. "Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music is what I want to make," she’s said. More than a dozen years along the road less-traveled, she succeeds like no one else.
From attending the red-carpet premiere and festivities of “Man of Steel” this Summer, she traveled from New York City to Cow Head, NL to musically direct the hit stage show “Newfoundland Vinyl”, a production of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. Her LP/album of the same name, joins her latest, “Heavy Graces” among 2013’s best new releases. Crowe’s third album out this year, “Songbook”, is an oeuvre-spanning 22-song compilation.
People everywhere can enjoy the music – and folks in Allison Crowe’s hometowns can join in “Tidings”, a celebration of music for the season and all-time, happening:
Nov. 30 – Arts and Culture Centre, Corner Brook, NL
Dec. 7 – Fairfield United Church, Victoria, BC – to aid Artemis Place and HepCBC
Dec. 12 – Real Food, Old City Quarter, Nanaimo, BC – Community Sing-along to aid Haven Society
Dec. 14 – St. Andrew’s United Church, Nanaimo, BC – with guests: Chelsea Peckett; Daniel Knapp; Melissa Kahan; Taylor Johnstone; Raymond Salgado; & Joshua Holloway - to aid Woodlands Secondary Band and Basketball
Concert and community sing-along details coming soon.
Newfoundland Vinyl's "timeless beauty" praised + Man of Steel soars
Aug. 12 2013
"What a voice, what a voice, what a voice!" remarks veteran music reviewer Muruch posting on the ‘No Depression’ blog. The West Virginia-based folk aficionado highlights a feature ever-present in the music of Allison Crowe – whether it’s rock, gospel, jazz, grunge, classical, blues, soul or other genres she’s making.
For her newest album, the 11th release on Rubenesque Records, the bi-coastal Canuck lends her voice and musicianship to great songs that come from, and out of, the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Newfoundland Vinyl” covers songs popularized by vinyl-era Canadian legends such as Joan Morrissey, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan, Eddie Coffey and Eddie Eastman. Add in tunes associated with The Dorymen, Stan Rogers plus modern troubadors Gary O’Driscoll and Ron Hynes for a moving and joyous showcase.
“It has the timeless beauty of a classic folk album,” writes Muruch. “The album is full of dazzling melody and such an unique charm.” Alluding to the rare path taken by the artist to achieve success, the review continues: “I’m starting to think Allison Crowe’s DIY folk style is Canada’s answer to Ani DiFranco.”
She’s enjoying fun this Summer in movies, too, as “Man of Steel” opens around the globe. Crowe has a cameo in the new Superman epic directed by Zack Snyder – performing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” in a scene that unfolds as Clark Kent /Superman – embodied wonderfully by Henry Cavill – searches for his place in this world.
Musician Allison Crowe and Director Zack Snyder on the set of filming "Man of Steel" - photo courtesy Clay Enos / Warner Bros.
MoS has earned more than $600 million at the box office so far. Allison Crowe flew home from the movie’s New York City premiere to begin rehearsals with the cast of “Newfoundland Vinyl: The Flipside” – the follow-up to last year’s rollicking hit – part of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival happening in Cow Head, NL. Jeff Pitcher, Artistic Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador is Writer and Crowe Musical Director again this Summer.
The production runs July 12 through August 30 at the GMTF. Allison Crowe says cast rehearsals are “AMAZING” – and indicate the show, which gave her newest album its name and raison d’etre, is going to be a super experience.
“Newfoundland Vinyl”, the limited-edition, 180-gram-quality, vinyl LP is available on Crowe's home islands -- on Atlantic shores at Gary Bennett Music in Corner Brook, and via Craig Payne's daROCK Stories & Songs, and venerable Fred's Records in St. John's, NL. On Canada's Pacific coast, the LP is stocked at Fascinating Rhythm, in Nanaimo, Lyle's Place, in Victoria, and Salt Spring Sound, SSI, BC. In the city of Vancouver, Canada - it's @: Highlife Records; Neptoon Records; Red Cat Records; and Zulu Records.
The album can also be mail-ordered for delivery anywhere, and, digitally, it's available here on Allison's Music Site and on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and other fine sites that make music available online.