Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Notes

Spending my February arranging Brecht/Weill songs and snuggling this guy - @Allison_Crowe tweets

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Bird on a Wire

"Allison Crowe's cover of Leonard Cohen's classic 'Bird On The Wire' is mournful and, true to the lyrics of the song, conscientiously abjures cheap conventional sentiment or ginning up the type of pseudo-consolation that relies on false promises of living happily ever after, e.g., that irreparable conflicts will somehow be resolved, emotional damages repaired, or the pain of personal loss alleviated. Yet, Crowe's voice and phrasing convey such empathy and intimacy that solace and succor are nonetheless granted through grace.

It's a great cover of a great song."

Bird on a Wire from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

Those words could only have been penned by Allan Showalter.

Liel Leibovitz, author of “A Broken Hallelujah - Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen” has tagged him “arguably the greatest living Cohen expert” and, for years, Showalter (aka DrHGuy) has proven to be the most erudite and entertaining writer to turn their mind to illuminating the world of the iconic poet, songwriter and author - and to share such treasures freely online.

This weekend, the Spook Lights have gone out o'er the good doctor’s beloved blogs – '' and ''.

Allison Crowe, (and her barnacled manager), be humbled and honoured to have received the attentions and appreciation of Allan Showalter. Allison’s music featured numerous times on those blogs that have been deep sources of delight for Cohen-philes, and fans of Anjani Thomas, Sharon Robinson, Perla Batalla, Adam Cohen, The Webb Sisters and so many more artists+.

We hope the world may again some day be brightened by the mysterious DrHGuy’s singular “pastiche of posts with song, dance, snappy chatter, and notes on prose, poesy, love, lust, life, & Leonard Cohen”.

For now, we’ve pulled out the cornbroom to dust-up this commemorative edition video of “Bird on a Wire” in loving salute to ‘1 Heck of a Guy’ – Allan Showalter.

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Friday, February 13, 2015


Wishing you and yours love and good health – this Valentine’s and V-Day week – and throughout the year(s)!!
Allison Crowe’s voyage encompasses Canada’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts and, virtually, the whole world – and it all comes back to the heart.


On “Oceans”, Allison (voice, guitar, engineer) is accmpanied by musical shipmates: Billie Woods (acoustic guitar); Dave Baird (bass); Laurent Boucher (percussion); Larry Anschell (electric guitar, engineer); with Kayla Schmah (producer).

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chelsea Hotel No. 2

Allison Crowe checks in again with a take on human relations - "Chelsea Hotel No.2" - Leonard Cohen's irregular ode to one whose "heart was a legend".

Allison's joined on this recording by cellist Brendan Millbank - and Kayla Schmah is string arranger and producer on this track from the album "Spiral":

Chelsea Hotel No. 2

Words & Music by Leonard Cohen, Ron Cornelius
Performed by Allison Crowe

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were looking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Weel, those were the reasons, that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh
That was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left

Ah, but you got away, oh, didn't you baby,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don't need you,
I need you, I don't need you
and all of that jiving around.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend
And you told me again that you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception
And then clenching your fists for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, "Well, never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music"

Ah, but you got away, didn't you baby
You just turned your back on the crowd
You got away, I never once heard you say
I need you, I dont need you
I need you, I dont need you
and all of that jivin around

Now, I don't mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can't keep track of each fallen robin.
but, I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that's all, I don't think of you that often

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Choose to Be (Happy)

Love for partners, parents, children, siblings, friends, cats, dogs, salamanders and all else… it’s all good! Good, too, is loving thy self.

Here’s Allison Crowe with “Choose to Be (Happy)” – from her album “Little Light”:

Images by the soundly-loved, fabulous friend, photographer and musician, Billie Woods – from the legendary, (now departed), London jazz and soul haven, Halo.

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Monday, February 09, 2015

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

The magic’s in the music and the music’s in Allison Crowe – passionately delivered here through “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”.

“Hello all the young lady did a jam up job on the song, Ronnie Shannon would have loved it,” says LaJay Alexander, fellow musician and good friend of the songwriter. Alexander notes that Shannon “is no longer with us, he passed away 2/9/09 in his home town Atlanta Georgia.”

Ronnie Shannon wrote this song 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. 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.

Allison’s recording of “I Never Loved a Man” is on her album “This Little Bird” - - it’s captured live-off-the-floor, by engineer/producer Ryan Adams, in the living room of a friend’s log-home on Salt Spring Island, Canada. Further exciting sounds from this remarkable live session in the “sylvan castle” of SSI’s Schmah family - coming very soon.

This Valentine's week+ we can all share in this musical love and legacy.

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Sunday, February 08, 2015


This time of February, for lots of folks, opens a door through which love, its many forms and facets, is a focus. With Valentine’s Day and V-Day happenings songs have a cherished part, too – reflective, celebratory, and all else.

In days of doo-wop, people addressed love’s pizmotality in musical letters. Fast forward to this week - and delivery of a bundle of songs bearing Allison Crowe’s singular stamp.

First posting is “Dearly”, from Allison’s “Spiral” album. On this, Allison (composer, voice, guitar, engineer) is joined by Billie Woods (guitar), Dave Baird (bass), Laurent Boucher (percussion), Larry Anschell (engineer) and Kayla Schmah (orchestrator, string arranger, producer). The foto of Allison was captured by Billie back-stage at Berlin’s beautiful Osterkirche.

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Pardon - coming soon

The secret to success, a music industry maven once said, is “stickability”. That applies as well in the world of independent film. Director Tom Anton, his co-producers, Sandi Russell, Blair Daily, Jacqueline George and all the creative team behind “The Pardon” - – reached a big milestone this week.

Variety is reporting monterey media, acclaimed distributor of indie and art-house films, has just acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to "The Pardon", a movie based on the true story of Louisiana’s Toni Jo Henry:

Monterey announces a “late Spring theatrical release is planned” for the feature which stars “Jaime King (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, ‘Heart of Dixie’, Pearl Harbor), and Academy Award nominee John Hawkes (Winter's Bone, The Sessions, Lincoln). The deal was negotiated between Shoreline Entertainment's Sam Eigen & Brian Sweet, and monterey media's Scott Mansfield.”

While butter is being melted for the popcorn, we can enjoy the movie trailer – which has as its soundtrack Allison Crowe’s singular version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc)

“Myself I long for love and light…” – on her debut full-length, “secrets”, Allison Crowe covers Leonard Cohen’s “Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

On her debut album "secrets" Allison Crowe included this Leonard Cohen song cover. Her voice and piano is accompanied by Jo Lundstrom (Rosehip Jam, Black Velvet Band) on accordion. Crowe engineered the recording, with production by Rainer Willeke (of Victoria, BC's Raindog Studios).

The video image of Allison Crowe is by Canada's Billie Woods.

MOJO magazine's December '08 issue paid tribute to "Rock's Greatest Poet" Leonard Cohen with a celebration of his "deep and moving music". Of Allison Crowe's contribution of "Joan of Arc" to its 'All Star Tribute", (featuring Judy Collins, Nick Cave, Katie Melua, Martha Wainwright, Dion and others), a cover-mount CD titled "Cohen Covered", MOJO says: "Once famously described by the Vancouver Courier 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. Certainly she does so on this spirited cover of Cohen's 'Songs of Love and Hate' classic, a track which also powerfully showcases her considerable talent as a fine interpreter of song."

"Any album that features a track from Leonard Cohen is certainly heading in the right direction. But when it is covered so beautifully, it makes you realise what an amazing lyricist Leonard Cohen is. Joan of Arc is the Cohen song covered on this album and it's certainly in my top 10 of Cohen covers. It's also my favorite track on (Secrets)" ~ Colin Meeks, (USA)

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Release (Jammer Convergence - Seattle live)

Rooting around, finding some of the stuff of dreams and lives – here, from the earliest-known international concert video of Allison Crowe – from Seattle, the home of Pearl Jam, with love... Play loud!

Release (Jammer Convergence - Seattle live) from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

Allison Crowe trekked to Seattle, Washington in July 2001 to be part of the World Wide Jammer Convergence (WWJC) - a gathering of Pearl Jam fans (AKA Jammers) from over 30 U.S. states, Canada and other PJ-friendly locales.

(Eddie Vedder and PJ being major inspirations for Allison and her band, then also living in North America’s Pacific Northwest.)

An entire floor was rented in an historic downtown hotel, The Commodore, and, like a scene from Cameron Crowe's movie, "Almost Famous", with doors wide open, and a communal room for watching PJ videos, Jammers experienced music and friendship in the Emerald City.

Allison (vocals, keyboard) with Dave Baird (bass) and Kevin Clevette (drums) performed a welcoming concert ~ in a small, very warm, theater in back of another historic joint - Second Avenue Pizza.

After the band set and encores, Allison remembers a Pearl Jam song she wants to play – solo - "Release".

Pam Abramowicz Wolfers captured the intensity in all Jammin' beauty (in this, the earliest-known international concert video of Allison Crowe). Embracing Allison afterward is Sandi Heinrich, WWJC organizer and event MC.

The stuff that dreams and lives are made of...

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