Friday, June 11, 2010

Upward Spiral for Allison Crowe - in Spirit and Flesh

“Canada’s finest songwriter”, Crowe reigns as instrument of faith and sex and God...

Allison Crowe, one of the great voices in music, this week gives a candid interview to UK writer Stephen Thomas. Published on culture blog ‘We Write Lists’, the chat highlights the twinned strands of spirituality and sexuality – a double-helix of musical vitality that makes Crowe such a singular force.

For the musician, described by Thomas as “Canada's finest songwriter”, performance is an act of communication that can reach emotionally and physically ecstatic heights for artist and audience.

Edith Piaf, Mahalia Jackson, and Oum Kalthoum moved people profoundly with their voices in earlier generations. Combining the joyful exuberance of Louis Armstrong, with the manic energy of rock and rollers from Little Richard in the 1950s to Bruce Springsteen of the 1970s, and the intensity of Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam of the ‘90s), Crowe tells ‘We Write Lists’ a concert set is akin to “some seriously good sex”. And, she notes: “To me, music is spirituality.”

Allison Crowe has just released her seventh CD. Titled “Spiral”, the album’s collection of original songs span country, roots, rock, pop and folk, alongside interpretations of classics from Annie Lennox (Why), Leonard Cohen (Chelsea Hotel No. 2), and Hunters and Collectors (Throw Your Arms Around Me).

"I Found You" - inside-album art by Tara Thelen from Allison Crowe's newest release, "Spiral"

Crowe’s own voice, piano and guitar is joined on this outing by Billie Rocha-Woods (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Dave Baird (bass, backing vocals), Brendan Millbank (cello), Larry Anschell (electric guitar), and Laurent Boucher (percussion). Anschell also has a hand in engineering (as do B.R.N. and John MacMillan). String arrangement, orchestration and production is by Hollywood film-scoring phenom Kayla Schmah. Drawing raves, too, is the album art, with paintings by Bergen, NL-based Tara Thelen, graphics by Florida’s Alix Whitmire, and photography by Rocha-Woods and Dan Goldwasser.

Next month, the Spiral concert tour launches with dates on Canada’s Pacific Coast – then moves to continental Europe for shows in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and, still-to-be-confirmed, Italy.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

'We Write Lists' Interviews: Allison Crowe

UK blog 'We Write Lists' caps its multi-part exploration of music and more with this week's thoughtful Q&A with Allison Crowe.

Click on the banner above to enjoy this interview session.

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