Coffee Afternoon With Allison Crowe - in CornerBrooker.com
A current interview/article by quintessential jill-of-all-trades, Helen Jayne Reid, appearing in news and culture blog CornerBrooker.com, traces the beginning of Allison Crowe's recording history to the present - and, over coffee, looks at where she's going next.
"Oceans" arises from Allison Crowe's life - at home on, both, the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Canada. Joining Allison on this open-hearted musical voyage is her "Spiral" crew - including Larry Anschell on electric guitar, as well as engineering. Sail on...
"Wake Up": Performed just twice over the years, one of those concert dates - at the Chilliwack Arts Centre, British Columbia (near dear friend and tour merch monkey, Reena Kudhail) - was captured by audio archivists John MacMillan and Condor (a new, proud, Papa!) Kayla Schmah, "Spiral" producer, arranged strings for the song, and it's rejoined Allison's repertoire - to much appreciation :)
Allison Crowe's take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" so redefined an approach to the song it was plenty controversial. Once that dam burst, and hundreds of covers poured forth, Crowe's version took its place as a much-loved, classic, interpretation. On her newest album, joined by cellist Brendan Millbank, she performs "Chelsea Hotel No.2", penned by Cohen and Ron Cornelius. Kayla Schmah is string arranger/producer.
Allison Crowe switches up with "Double-Edged Swords" - riding the rails geographically and emotionally. On board with Allison, the band, and producer Kayla Schmah is long-time musical partner, Turtle Studio's Larry Anschell, engineering the instrumental tracks. There's no 'sleeper' on this trip...
"Spiral" is Allison Crowe's newest album - w. gorgeous cover paintings by Netherlands-based Tara Thelen + graphic design by Florida's Alix Whitmire. Billie Woods contributes photographs & acoustic guitar, alongside a rhythm section of Dave Baird and Laurent Boucher. Arranging, orchestrating and producing in full cinematic splendour is Kayla Schmah, of L.A. by-way-of-Salt Spring Island.
Not to be missed is this lovely video, "Home Reflections", set to audio of Allison's recording of the elegiac song:
It's created by Scottish musician and photographer Shona McMillan - who quotes her Mum's favourite saying: "I pass this way but once, any good that I can do - Let Me - for I may not pass this way again."
In her teen years, Allison Crowe alternated between band shows and, solo, singer-songwriter, gigs. "Running for Home", words by Matthew Good & Music by Matt Good + Dave Genn, fit both settings. On "Little Light", Crowe, independent and vital, presents her intimate take on this song by Good, an iconoclastic Canadian rocker.
"Choose to Be" nearly was part of Allison Crowe's "This Little Bird" album, but the recording, engineered and produced by Allison, became one of the piano songs on her next CD, "Little Light". Bridging the serious intensity of "early" performances with the playful buoyancy of some later tracks, in it Allison does choose to be... happy :)
"Little Light" - the title song: "Walk backwards to see, if you can start where you were before/ break the locks to see, if there was ever really a door/ set fire to yourself, to see if there is anything to burn/ keep making mistakes, to see if there is anything to learn..."
Allison Crowe, a child of the '80s, performs one of her favourites of that era in concert - a cover of Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman's "Time After Time". Allison performs the song live, in concert, and Scott Littlejohn of Nanaimo, B.C. records the moment.
Here's a "Time After Time" home-movie song-video, companion to the "Angels" vid. Happy weekend!!
An international review declares "the energy of 'Disease' can easily provide electricity to a small country for a decade." Here is Allison Crowe captured live by Turtle Recording's Larry Anschell and Brad Graham. "Once more shifting genres, moods, and techniques, 'Disease'," says 1 Heck of a Guy, "is a passionate look into the dark side of human connectedness manifest in a song played with operatic ferocity."
Next of Allison Crowe's albums is "Little Light", a 2008 release which is the most guitar-oriented song collection among her CDs. Opening up is the rustically shimmering "Northern Lights". Again Allison transmutes real life in this love song - inspired by sighting the Aurora Borealis. Lorette C. Luzajic, Toronto-based artist and culture-writer, calls it "the prettiest song that Sarah McLachlan never wrote."
Images of the Aurora Borealis - by adventurer and photographer David Cartier, captured mostly in the Yukon territory of Canada's North - accompany Allison Crowe's "Northern Lights" song in this video - combining to help bring home the wonder of it all :)
"This Little Bird" adds the final straw to Allison Crowe's album/CD of the same name. Fitting today as Allison is back in her nest in "a corner in the East" - following a series of concerts that add to the legend. Allison, piano and voice, is again accompanied by Dave Baird, bass, and Laurent Boucher, percussion, featuring... cowbell!
Hallelujah ~ a flake of Fairview life w. Allison Crowe
On her tour swing of Canada's Atlantic and Maritime region, Allison Crowe visits Fairview Heights School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This bootleg clip may not have the highest production values - but, it does reveal the highest of human values :)
Secrets (That Aren't My Own) ~ Victòria Quingles interpreta
Allison Crowe is joyed to hear her own songs interpreted! It's a wonderful thing as music reaches around the world and is shared. Here, young Spanish artist Victòria Quingles performs "Secrets (That Aren't My Own)" at Fundació ACA, de Búger - in Mallorca, Spain last week. It's a moving interpretation - and a video post to help celebrate this course of global creativity - the mother of invention. Happy Mother's Day!!
Allison Crowe interprets Ronnie Shannon's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" - a breakout hit for Aretha Franklin in 1967. Allison "nails it just as good as the Queen of Soul herself. Her piano playing is equally exquisite," says Bob Muller, curator of cover songs @ JoniMitchell.com1 Heck of a Guy's Allan Showalter calls Allison's "the most provocative and seductive (forgive me, Aretha) take I've heard".
"Phoenix", a 'deep track' on a richly diverse album. Allison Crowe's voice and piano is accompanied by sympatico rhythm duo Dave Baird (bass) and Laurent Boucher (percussion). Guitar is played by Del Crowe, Allison's Father. Songs of Innocence. Songs of Experience.
"Allison Crowe, the Canadian singer-songwriter and icon-in-training, performing her uniquely gorgeous version of 'Darling Be Home Soon,' a classic pop – in the best sense of 'pop' – tune" is how "1 Heck of a Guy" blogger, Allan Showalter, bills this "must-hear cover" of the John Sebastian-penned Lovin' Spoonful beauty.
"Circular Reasoning", Allison Crowe declares, is something she practices at times. And, should Allison's bassist, Dave Baird, be listening to the lyrics, this IS an abundantly happy song :) He's joined here by rhythm partner, Laurent Boucher on percussion. Is that a triangle - closing this mid-album guitar-set? Guitar engineering is by Ryan Adams.
Allison Crowe on guitar, again, for "Silence". Dave Baird on bass, Laurent Boucher, percussion. Guitar engineering, (as on "Now"), is by Newfoundland's Louis & Mike McDonald. The album's engineering, overall, and production is by Allison - who, by 2006, is running her own record label, and handling many creative roles at the same time! Simply... hear it :)
"Now" - When Allison Crowe first settled in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in 2005/6, for the first year or two, she did not have an acoustic piano in her home. (Her grand piano being on Canada's other coast, in the harbour city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.) Allison has a natural interest in guitar, and this confluence manifest in an outpouring of guitar songs on her next albums, "This Little Bird" and "Little Light".
"There Is" - the version on Allison Crowe's "This Little Bird" album/CD. Allison's voice and piano is complemented by Dave Baird's bass, Laurent Boucher's percussion, and, her father, Del Crowe's guitar! "There is a way, out of this, there is... " :)