Allison Crowe Drives to New Lands: “Heavy Graces” Tour on Deck

She comes from a land of ice and snow. Some years more-so than others. And, like such phenomena, Allison Crowe’s preternatural talent, and her peerless body of music, is marked by a pure, crystalline, uniqueness.

“How can someone so small and young have such a big voice and write such heavy duty songs?,” legendary West-coast Canada musician and publisher Barry Newman found himself wondering upon discovering a teen-aged Crowe on a Vancouver Island stage in the year 2000. For a cover feature in Cosmic Debris, (the magazine he founded), Newman observed: “The inflections in her piano stylings were so mature too… there was a blues edge in there.”

“The first thing you notice about Allison Crowe is her voice. Rich and dark, it seems to come from a place most singers can only dream of accessing. Then there are the songs. Filled with raw passion and accompanied by eloquent piano playing,” notes Clodagh O’Connell, (The Courier, Rolling Stone+), in a maiden review of Crowe’s voyage to new lands.

Cultural critic for The Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria, BC, Adrian Chamberlain, also caught the artist in her early concert rounds: “(Listening to) Crowe is akin to sipping the richest of brandies.” The writer, himself a funk soul musician, explained: “Crowe’s singing is tremendously powerful; almost operatic. When she digs into a sustained note, as she so often does, the voice is huge, rounded, with a dark timbre.”

The amazing sound crossed the main. Before long UK music maven Dave Henderson, (MOJO, Q and Kerrang!+), was tipping MOJO mag’s audience to this siren from o’er the sea: “Once famously described 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.”

Moving deeper into this century, the musician’s voice is ever more complex – striking on its own and, most frequently, accompanied by 88 hammers of the gods in the hands of a virtuoso. “You really have to see Allison Crowe live. The way she splits those notes, it’s like light through a prism – all the colours of a song,” says Canadian radio and television veteran Rick Dennis.

Eight years back, Crowe migrated from her island birth-place of Nanaimo, BC, on the Pacific Ocean, to Corner Brook, nestled on another lovely isle, Newfoundland – near the Viking Trail on Atlantic shores. Acoustic guitar, fiddle and tin-whistle now figure alongside voice and piano in her musical palette – creating rock, folk, jazz, roots, country, Celtic and more thrills. Her newest recording, (released globally April 28), is an addictive variant of a centuries-old song of the seacoast, “Tarry Trousers”.

“Weirdly typical” is how BC dean of Canuck rock writers, Tom Harrison, describes a new album from Allison Crowe – and that legend is key to any map of her course. She presents bi-coastal “Tidings” concerts each Christmas season in her homeland. These past two years Crowe’s focused on: recording (four acclaimed albums – “Tidings Concert”, “Newfoundland Vinyl”, “Heavy Graces”, and “Songbook”); dance (performing songs of Leonard Cohen on-stage with Canada’s brilliant Royal Winnipeg Ballet); theatre (musically directing Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s rollicking hit show, “Newfoundland Vinyl”); and film projects – one recording riveting in the trailer for a major indie motion picture (“The Pardon”), and cameoing, pretty much as herself, in “Man of Steel”- a #1 box-office Superman movie among the decade’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters.

Steering well clear of the corporate record industry’s shallows, Crowe’s integrity is as steadfast as her sound is remarkable – a double-helix of traits akin to the DNA of previous generations’ mavericks. “I’m a big Johnny Cash fan. And I’m a big Allison Crowe fan. So the combination to me seemed like an awesome opportunity if we could make it happen,” explains “Man of Steel” Director Zack Snyder. “Allison and I had talked about trying to get some of her music in one of my movies whenever we could – and I thought, well, if I just put her in the film then there’s no way that it won’t work. So, that’s where you get Allison from.”

Allison Crowe's "Heavy Graces" Tour reaches Europe this May

Allison Crowe’s “Heavy Graces” Tour reaches Europe this May

For her next act, Allison Crowe returns to the international concert stage this May – with eight concerts upcoming in Europe: Bernau (03.05); Frankfurt (07.05); Freiburg (11.05); Neunkirchen (13.05); Inning (15.05); Florence (17.05); Münster (20.05); and Potsdam (22.05). The opening concert on this “Heavy Graces” tour quickly sold out – Ausverkaft! Full event calendar @ http://allisoncrowe.com/tour.html

For most of these dates, Crowe’s joined by special guest artist, and super-simpatico tour partner, Billie Woods http://www.facebook.com/billiewoodsmusic Woods’ distinctive vocal and nylon-string guitar style is rooted in Canada’s Pacific Northwest and infused with the warmth and vitality of cultural rhythms of Brazil. From home-base on Salt Spring Island, BC, in “Canada’s banana belt”, she’s blended a life of passions – principally music and photography.

Crowe’s Road/Stage manager, Axel Dollheiser, hails from Bavaria and Salt Spring. popTrip Entertainment, (currently moving headquarters from Berlin, Germany to Toronto, Canada), is booking agent.

Toronto-based author and visual artist Lorette C. Luzajic concludes: “Not everyone can bring down the divine, not everyone can be vast and mythological or bring the gifts of the gods into a winter’s night. But Allison Crowe channels the spirit each and every time.”

Some words about Allison Crowe from around the world @ http://www.allisoncrowe.com/pressquotes.html

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Tarry Trousers

Canada’s Allison Crowe here performs “Tarry Trousers” – an addictively lovely version of a traditional tune with history on both sides of the Atlantic since the 1800s.

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Tarry Trousers” is one of the songs she’s arranged and curated for inclusion in this Summer’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival line-up – and the third incarnation of a rollicking hit show, “Newfoundland Vinyl“, conceived by Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s Artistic Director Jeff Pitcher.

TNL produces GMTF, an annual festival situated in a supremely gorgeous location, Cow Head, NL — Gros Morne National Park (an UNESCO world heritage site on the isle of Newfoundland’s west coast).

TNL’s latest newsletter contains info on the upcoming Gros Morne Theatre Festival and TNL’s Youth Theatre productions. Here, it describes the show musically directed by Allison Crowe and brought to life by the fabulous and fun cast that performs in 2014:

Newfoundland Vinyl” is back! And this time it’s “The ‘C’ Side“. Allison Crowe has made this show into a perennial Festival favourite. The vinyl Newfoundland hits of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s by Newfoundland’s biggest recording stars are never – ending. From Harry Hibbs’ “The Wild Rover” to Eddy Coffey’s “Area Code 709” to Cory & Trina’s “Northern Lights of Labrador” Allison manages to lay bare the simple and beautiful melodies and lyrics of our most talented artists, featuring the wonderful talents of Stephanie Payne, Amelia Manuel, Claire Hewlett, Colin Furlong, Marquita Walsh, Craig Haley and Keelan Purchase.

And, of course, Ed!

http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com

http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/newsletter-winter-2014.pdf

Allison Crowe’s variant of a centuries-old tune, “Tarry Trousers”, shines like a diamond bright – and is now added to the cultural treasure chest that is “GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador”: http://www.wtv-zone.com/ phyrst/audio/nfld/02/ tarry.htm

Gery Deugaw, GEST’s Owner/Archivist writes: “Allison gives traditional songs new life with her beautiful voice and harmonies. The earliest known lyrics to this love ballad were found in the 1848 journal of the whaling vessel Nauticon out of Nantucket, Massachusetts by the captain’s wife, Susan Veeder, and is archived at the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library.”

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Silence – Allison Crowe – Corner Brook Café

Silence” – a song first heard on Allison Crowe’s “This Little Bird” album – is performed by her in “Corner Brook Café” – the very popular Rogers Television show hosted by veteran Producer Wendy Woodland and filmed by lensman Editor Michael Rigler (MrShadowySouls) in Crowe’s home of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada.

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Threshold” visual processing’s chosen here by the duende of the music.

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