Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Help! - Vote for the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival

If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow... Any time at all, though, you support the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival, I've got a feeling you'll know it's only love, and that is all.

Move over Ms. L, this unique happening that's come together, in Durness, Scotland, is nominated as "Best New Festival" and "Fan Friendly Festival" in the UK Festival Awards.

Please, please me, and, especially, Festival Coordinator Mike Merritt and his team. All together now. Power to the people!

So, remember, the Fifth of November - and, by this Sunday, October 28, cast your ballots for the cultural revolution @

Across the universe, don't let me down ( :

Bless You!

And, while watching the wheels go round, here's the word today from the 'Cover Lay Down' blog's Covered in Folk series:

"Songwriter and mistress of coversongs Allison Crowe beat out Johnny Cash, Ben Lee, Chantal Kreviazuk and Shawn Colvin covers of 'In My Life' at the last minute. Buy or download all Crowe's albums via Rubenesque - her own label - and you'll know why this Canadian youngster is one to watch for the next half-century."

In My Life

Dig it ( :

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Half a million strong: Allison Crowe's music gets back to where we once belonged

Allison Crowe's most recent Scottish expedition has been a smashing success. Three performances = three standing ovations. Highlights, among many, of the visit include performing songs of John Lennon for members of John’s family, meeting and dining with the Queen’s Master of Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and his partner Colin Parkinson, and, simply, sharing the joy and wonder of music and nature with people from Glasgow and Edinburgh to the Highlands. (Not to forget the haggis stand outside the Village Hall in Durness - and Sergeant Pepper’s Soup Kitchen.)

With more concerts already booked, from May to September 2008, the mutual love and respect between friends and fans in this most hospitable land is fast making Scotland a bonnie “home from home” for Crowe, one of the world’s most exciting, and down-to-earth, musicians. Accepting invitations to the Orkneys and Liverpool, (named the European Capital of Culture for ’08), is also in score for next year.

Allison Crowe’s welcomed back to North America by news that Bob Muller, curator of song covers at, includes her recording of “A Case of You” in the latest “Joni Covers” volume - with these words: “Another fine entry in the Joni Covers pantheon for Allison, who first wowed us with her electrifying take on River. This time 'round she picks another Blue selection and imbues it with her sensitive singing and playing. From her 2006 release ‘This Little Bird’, all of which is as tasty as this track.”

The world of video, along with audio, is embracing with conviction. YouTube viewership for Crowe’s take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is over half-a-million strong (leading still more to her freshly definitive ‘Tidings’ album version of the song). Promising to become another, future, reel highlight, makers of what can genuinely be called one of the most highly anticipated Hollywood movie projects in twenty+ years, have requested use of two of Allison’s recordings for this major motion picture. (More word on film production to follow, naturally.)

If we got ourselves back to the garden, when rock music was most vital, Allison Crowe would blow audiences away at the Fillmore, at Monterey, at Woodstock. Today, she plays for people on the stages of YouTube, Jamendo, (and other online forums where audiences gather to enjoy her remarkable, and peerless, mix of originals and interpretations). And, of course, the live experience comes together - from the just-wrapped John Lennon Northern Lights Festival to her upcoming Tidings concert series (dates and locations tba) - wherever she travels.

In a age of commercial trends and calculated retro acts, Allison Crowe delivers something else entirely as a singer-songwriter - a visceral expression of freedom. We haven't had that spirit here, well, since 1969.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

John Lennon Northern Lights Festival - in review

The Scotsman, "Scotland's national newspaper", gives the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival four-out-of-four stars and this delightful review:

The Scotsman Tue 2 Oct 2007



SITUATED closer to Oslo than Liverpool, it's easy to see why John Lennon spent so much of his youth in Durness. With its white, sandy beaches and picture-perfect mountainous terrain, a story hides behind almost every rock in this remote village in the north-west highlands. The Northern Lights - the only thing to get a Scotsman to stand outside without a coat in late September - made an appearance, but the real magic was going on under the sky, as people from all around the world gathered to pay homage to Lennon's spirit.

At the Sango Sands Oasis, Lennon's first band, The Quarrymen, delighted onlookers with a skiffle set and stories about John while giving people in the audience a chance to play with them on washboard.

Meanwhile, a mile down the road at Smoo Cave - a spectacular smugglers' cove believed to be the abode of spirits who guard the entrance to the netherworld - there was the surreal sight of Mr Boom. An entranced group of kids sat between the limestone cliffs as the one-man-band entertainer took them to another planet.

A stone's throw away at the village hall, Canadian angel Alison Crowe gave one of the weekend's most magical moments, earning one of few encores for her solo rendition of Lennon's In My Life (a song inspired by Durness).

Students from the Royal Academy of Music injected new life into the Beatle's work later on with new, inspired arrangements of Norwegian Wood and Imagine. Their mentor, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, however - making his first public appearance in 15 years - played an ingenious number called Clouds on a badly-tuned piano borrowed from the local bookshop.

He wrote it, Davies said, when he was 11 years old. You could almost imagine an 11-year-old John Lennon listening to it in wonder too.

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