Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer, swims, and friends

Circular Reasoning - Comes 'round Again

Circular Reasoning” spins here with a 1933 and 1/3 Betty Boop classic from Fleischer Studios.

Musical time starts counting again with Allison Crowe’s “Sylvan Hour” wonderland: http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/circular-reasoning-sh


Circular Reasoning from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

Sylvan Hour is truly a masterpiece” says pioneering culture blog Muruch. (http://www.muruch.com/2015/05/allisoncrowe-sylvanhour.html)

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.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Now

"Now"

Allison Crowe from "Sylvan Hour" + the closing scene from "A Farewell to Arms" (1932).


Now from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

Dedicated to the brave, amazing, inspiring Sara...h McDonald – with love, in peace.


Dedicated to the brave, amazing, inspiring Sara...h McDonald – with love, in peace.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Silence

Silence”- Allison Crowe from the sylvan castle on Salt Spring Island, Canada:
http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/silence-sh
Crowe’s musical performance is paired with an excerpt from “Ménilmontant”, the 1925 silent film from auteur, director, Dimitri Kirsanoff and starring his collaborator Nadia Sibirskaia and Yolande Beaulieu as sisters.


Silence from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

A treasure of cinema’s avant-garde, you can find the full (38 minute) movie in the Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/menilmontant1924-25 with commentary by David Badagnani, who notes:

“Its story is told entirely in images, without the use of explanatory intertitles; Kirsanoff was among the very rare filmmakers of the silent era to attempt this. The film makes use of techniques such as montage, hand-held camera, ultra-rapid montage, and superposition to achieve the elusive, transcendent quality of ‘photogenie’ so sought after by the French impressionist film directors of the era. Ménilmontant, thus, comes closer to poetry than to narrative prose.”
Sylvan Hour is truly a masterpiece” says pioneering culture blog Muruch. (http://www.muruch.com/2015/05/allisoncrowe-sylvanhour.html)

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Newfoundland Vinyl" Opens!

The curtain rises tonight for the opening of “Newfoundland Vinyl”. The show’s sold-out and there’s a waiting list for folks to enjoy this pressing of a perennial favourite at Newfoundland’s fabulous Gros Morne Theatre Festival!

The GMTF’s 20th anniversary season is underway – and it’s real celebration of the creative family that is Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador (the Atlantic Canadian professional theatre company founded in 1979).

Conceived by TNL’s Artistic Director, Jeff Pitcher, the hit-stage show “Newfoundland Vinyl” is under the Musical Direction of Allison Crowe who’s been with the production from its launch in 2012.

Newfoundland Vinyl - logo by Ed Hollet

TNL describes the show opening tonight: “Hits of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s by Newfoundland’s biggest recording stars come to life! For your toe-tapping, tear-jerking enjoyment the music and songs of Ryan’s Fancy, Harry Hibbs, Gary O’Driscoll, Dick Nolan, Joan Morrissey, Bob Porter and more! A magical evening of music and madness with the hilarious Ed and Edna (Ed’s long-lost 3rd cousin twice removed) as show hosts!”

The wonderfully-talented cast bringing music and vitality to stage for Summer 2015 are:
Adam Brake, Craig Haley, Claire Hewlett, Stephanie Payne, Keelan Purchase, and Marquita Walsh. The production team is: Musical Director, Allison Crowe; Stage Manager, Stefanie Power; Sound Design, Max Simms; Set Design, Derek Butt; Set Coordination, Lisa Lahue; Costume Coordination, Lindsay Code; Original Lighting Design, Johnny Cann; and Lighting Coordination, Andrew Scriver.

“I have had such a wonderful time learning this year's crop of songs for Newfoundland Vinyl - from waltzes and parlour songs, to torch songs, to songs with the same spirit as 1960s protest anthems and beyond - simply great music from throughout the decades,” notes Allison. “The silly, the sentimental, the sad, and serene all converge in this GMTF show. I'm so happy that you're here to experience our talented cast performing for you with their hearts and souls. And what a gorgeous location for it! So, please, enjoy and do sing along!”

Newfoundland Vinyl” runs June 13 - August 28, 2015 – with performances each Tuesday and Friday in the Ethie Room, Shallow Bay Motel and Cabins. For complete schedule and show-times visit http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com/shows/newfoundland-vinyl-2015 and take in the full program of shows GMTF presents in Cow Head, NL – set in gorgeous Gros Morne National Park. Ticket details are @ http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com/tickets/?p=newfoundland-vinyl-2015 and by phone (709) 639-7238 or toll-free 1-877-243-2899
 

Newfoundland Vinyl” logo design by Ed Hollet.

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Sunday, June 07, 2015

I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)

Tides of relationships toss things adrift in this Fleischer Studios 1933 animated short, “Is My Palm Read”, starring Betty Boop and pals, Bimbo the Dog and Koko the Clown.

The song “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” was composed by Ronnie Shannon - specifically for Aretha Franklin for whom it became a breakout hit in 1967. He also wrote “Baby I Love You”, Aretha’s second gold song – released later in ’67 – as well as penning “Do Your Duty” for Bettye LaVette and other classics.


Allison’s Crowe's recording of “I Never Loved a Man” – now on "Sylvan Hour" - is captured live-off-the-floor, by engineer/producer Ryan Adams, in the log-home, “sylvan castle”, of friends on Salt Spring Island, Canada.

“Hello all, the young lady did a jam up job on the song, Ronnie Shannon would have loved it," says the songwriter's friend, LaJay Alexander, with respect to Allison's performance.

Alexander and Shannon performed together in the Detroit soul combo “Ron and LaJay and the Fifth Proposition” and LaJay recorded the international hit, “Say So” for Shannon's r’n’b, soul, funk+ label, Black Gold, in the 1970s. Alexander notes that Shannon “is no longer with us, he passed away 2/9/09 in his home town Atlanta, Georgia.”

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These Words

Sometime the 'invisible monster' is within ourselves, sometimes it's outside, trying to break in... and there are times when it's both internal and external. "These Words" from Allison Crowe's "Sylvan Hour" explores such chambers. Visually carrying us into the psychic underworld is cinema's original "Phantom of the Opera" - Lon Chaney so darkly brilliant in the 1925 film version of Gaston Leroux’s gothic novel.


These Words from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

Sylvan Hour is truly a masterpiece” says pioneering culture blog Muruch. (http://www.muruch.com/2015/05/allisoncrowe-sylvanhour.html)

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