“Easy” Allison Crowe – Live Jazzhaus Freiburg

Allison Crowe’s bootleg video series continues here with a celebratory nod to this weekend’s opening of “Newfoundland Vinyl” – the hit Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador production at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival (staged in Canada’s beautiful Gros Morne National Park).

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Allison Crowe enjoys curating and arranging the music – mining a treasure trove of tunes from the region – songs that cover a full range of genres and emotions. And when she tours the world Crowe carries the sounds of home to her international audience.

On this concert night at Jazzhaus Freiburg in Germany – she performs a song penned by Terry Skinner that’s first recorded by Canadian country great Eddie Eastman (in 1979).

Allison Crowe recorded it for her album “Newfoundland Vinyl“: http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/easy (released, naturally, on vinyl LP).

On its release last year, Gery Deugaw, the super-dedicated cultural archivist behind “GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador” @ http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld – notes: “After all the years of travelling the Trans-Canada, Eddie Eastman was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour in 2010. Allison Crowe performs this song with the easy sound it needs to be successfully reprised in the 21st century.”

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Allison Crowe’s State of the Union: Canada & Memorial Days, Pretzelfest & Independence Day

To share this holiday: some music – Allison Crowe’s “Northern Lights”, with the photographs of David Cartier, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmSs7Apu9Cs plus recipes from Allison for Toutons and for Rosemary Bread (you can make in a pot or, improvising, a skillet): http://7thumbsup.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/beaumont-hamel-canada-day-rosemary-bread-and-toutons

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North Americans mark an especially commemorative week – starting, eh, in this land of ours with Canada Day and, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial Day – Newfoundlander, comedian+ Rick Mercer notes the poignant dichotomy of July 1: “On the day we are supposed to be celebrating the flag, the flags are flying at half mast” in his blog @ http://rickmercer.blogspot.ca/2005/07/memorial-day-in-newfoundland.html This week rolls ahead with Pretzelfest, July 3 on Salt Spring Island, BC and rockets with July 4, Independence Day, celebrations across the USA.

Where e’er you be, and whatever the occasion, may you and yours know peace and joy alongside the best of health and times. Sláinte!

Here at Rubenesque Records we’re invigorated by Allison Crowe’s most recent, sensational, concerts in Europe. Now home, Allison’s already deep into production of this year’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival – as Musical Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s hit show, “Newfoundland Vinyl”.

TNL proclaims:

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 Corey & Trina’s “Northern Lights of Labrador” Allison manages to lay bare the simple and beautiful melodies and lyrics of our most talented artists.”

The show spins each Tuesday and Friday from July 11 – August 29 at the GMTF – and the “incredibly talented and versatile cast”, says Allison, features the wonderful performing roster of musicians/actors: Colin Furlong, Craig Haley, Claire Hewlett, Amelia Manuel, Stephanie Payne, Keelan Purchase, and Marquita Walsh. With Adam Christopher Brake as Ed.

The show’s stellar cast is supported by a shining set of northern production lights: Director – Jeff Pitcher/Allison Crowe; Musical Director – Allison Crowe; Stage Manager – Effie Parsons; Set Design – Derek Butt; Costume Design – Lindsay Code; Original Sound Design – Dirk Ave; Original Lighting Design – Johnny Cann; and Sound Coordination & Lighting Coordination – Laura Penney.

On July 28, 2014, in a special, solo, performance, Allison Crowe Sings “Newfoundland Vinyl” and More – in GMTF’s “Who’s Darkening Our Door” Concert Series.

For info on these, and all, Gros Morne Theatre Festival shows (May 31-Sept. 13, 2014) – call 709-639-7238 or toll-free 1-877-243-2899 + visit http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com

To celebrate with the latest music and more from Allison Crowe, anyway, anyhow, anywhere you choose: http://music.allisoncrowe.com + http://www.youtube.com/user/Adrian22 + http://www.allisoncrowe.com/bio.html

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Easy Livin’, Lovin’

A song for a Winter’s night… and any time! One of the most vital popular music artists of this, or any, generation, Allison Crowe is also among the most versatile. With her release of “Newfoundland Vinyl” earlier this year, Allison delivers unvarnished roots and country to the mix.

Canadian country great Eddie Eastman recorded Terry Skinner’s song, “Easy” first in 1979. Here’s Allison’s new take: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U_GDkkfCa4

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Gery Deugaw, Owner/Archivist of the treasure-trove that is “GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador” @ http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld – notes: “After all the years of travelling the Trans-Canada, Eddie Eastman was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour in 2010. Allison Crowe performs this song with the easy sound it needs to be successfully reprised in the 21st century.”

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“Newfoundland Vinyl” LP Readies to Set Sail

Artwork and the track listing for “Newfoundland Vinyl”, Allison Crowe’s 11th release on Rubenesque Records Ltd., is ready. The album’s music sets sail worldwide next month.

As Musical Director for Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s production of “Newfoundland Vinyl: The Flip Side” at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival, Crowe’s active now curating and arranging songs for this Summer’s cast.

It’s a rich and varied collection harvested from the island region’s popular music and oral traditions – and from which she’s culled a selection for her vinyl LP. The album’s 10 tracks traverse parlour songs to country tunes and folk favourites, songs of land and sea that share the strength and the struggles, the heartbreaks and the humour, of a people.

Recognized as one of the great modern interpreters of song, Allison Crowe’s singular performances deliver familiar and much-loved songs afresh and with renewed joy.

Coming next month, then, is Allison Crowe’s take on these songs that, over 200 years, come from, and out of, Newfoundland and Labrador – with ageless melodies and meaning:

Black Velvet Band – lively traditional song recorded on both sides of the Atlantic, including a version by the legendary Harry Hibbs

Easy – penned by Terry Skinner and made a classic radio hit by country star Eddie Eastman

Men Who Die for a Living – Gary O’Driscoll, award-winning songwriter and producer from St. Lawrence and the South coast, wrote this potent elegy “for the miners here and gone”

Cliffs of Baccalieu – Jack Withers’ sea-faring song has previously been sailed by such distinct voices as Anita Best and Stan Rogers

Skipper Billy’s Wake – songwriter Ellis Coles’ jaunty mix of moonshine, Screech and more was well popularized by Dick Nolan

Sonny’s Dream – Newfoundland’s “Man of 1000 Songs”, Ron Hynes, created this anthem of the heart and home

Tiny Red Light – a traditional Newfoundland song revitalized in the vinyl era by The Dorymen (popular east-coast combo founded by John Drake and Tom Rose – a pair of lads out of Fortune Bay communities Belleoram and Bay du Nord)

The Mobile Goat Song – composed by St. John’s Tom Cahill, frequent collaborator with “Newfoundland’s First Lady of Song”, Joan Morrissey, who released this fun romp on her 1973 LP “Home Brew

Seven Old Ladies – a bawdy song which musically plumbs a 1700s nursery rhyme, (“Johnny’s So Long at the Fair“) – and a tune also recorded by the great Joan Morrissey

Sweet Forget Me Not – first published in 1877, this tender tune by Bobby Newcomb was the first single, and a vinyl hit on the mainland as well, for Cape Shore’s Eddie Coffey

Allison Crowe’s “Newfoundland Vinyl” album launches June 25, 2013.

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Allison Crowe – New, Vinyl, Album This Summer

Allison Crowe has completed recording her newest album – to debut June 25, 2013. This new release, the 11th from Crowe’s Rubenesque Records, is the first to be available as a vinyl LP.

Crowe reveals her inspiration – working with Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, which celebrates the 18th Annual Gros Morne Theatre Festival when its season runs this year from May – September.

“I am so grateful to have been asked two years in a row to put together songs and musically direct for a show called ‘Newfoundland Vinyl’. I get to work with extremely talented and fun people each Summer in a gorgeous setting – Cow Head, NL,” says Allison from her home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. “From the vast and encyclopaedic sea of beautiful music to come from, and out of, Newfoundland and Labrador, here is a collection of some of the songs from this year’s show.”

Music and comedy come together in this theatre production, written and directed by TNL’s Artistic Director Jeff Pitcher. TNL announces: “On the heels of last year’s runaway hit we present the all new ‘Newfoundland Vinyl – The Flip Side!’ …the cast returns with more hits than a bagful of hammers!”

Nail more on this show and other GMTF events online now @ http://www.theatrenewfoundland.com/play_Vinyl.html (and related pages). Full details on Allison Crowe’s new album coming in May.

Northern Lights over Gros Morne – photo by Allison Crowe

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RWB Steps Out – “The Doorway” to Tour Canada’s Maritimes

In this part of the Northern Hemisphere, there’s no wish for those lazy, hazy days of Summer to pass… still, in a sign of great things to come, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet posts the next dates for “The Doorway – the resonantly rewarding ballet choreographed by Jorden Morris and set to the words and music of Leonard Cohen. (These Maritime Canada tour dates are presented in several of those same venues which launched Cohen’s triumphant return to the concert arena in 2008.)

For these Autumnal dates, Allison Crowe reprises her role performing “Hallelujah“. Cris Williamson, whose live recording of “Sisters of Mercy” capped the premiere runs, joins the RWB company to perform the song live on-stage.

Full details tba

Maritime Tour:

Halifax, NS – November 7-8, 2012 – In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action – Rebecca Cohn Theatre

Fredericton, NB – November 9, 2012 – In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action – The Playhouse

Charlottetown, PE – November 10, 2012 – In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action – Confederation Centre of the Arts

Saint John, NB – November 12, 2012 – In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action – Imperial Theatre

http://www.rwb.org/tours

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Naked Honesty: Crimson Coast’s Holly Bright Revealing and Revelling

This year, 2012, has seen much excitement and beauty emerge from choreographer Jorden Morris’ creation of Leonard Cohen-inspired ballet for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (the first company anywhere to present Cohen’s works as dance/theatre – with 1970s Brian Macdonald choreographed “The Shining People of Leonard Cohen”). Following the success of his “Dance Me to the End of Love” – pas de deux, a sensational highlight of the 2011 Genie Awards telecast – featuring dancers Sophia Lee and Jaime Vargas – Morris’ contemporary dance, “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen“, enjoyed its world premiere this Spring. Pierre Meunier, reviewer for La Liberté, says of this newest RWB Cohen ballet: “Chacune des cinq scènes est un petit bijou.” (English translation: “Each of the five scenes is a small jewel.”)

Among those most delighted with news of these works by Morris and company is Holly Bright, Artistic and General Director of Crimson Coast Dance Society, based in Allison Crowe’s birthplace of Nanaimo, BC, Canada. “How wonderful that this collaboration has arisen! RWB are amazing and well-loved across the country as is Allison! I hope I get the opportunity to see it!,” Bright exclaimed upon Allison Crowe teaming up with the RWB to perform “Hallelujah” in “The Doorway”.

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Since settling in Nanaimo in 1992, Holly Bright, choreographer and dancer, has dynamically pursued her mission to advance modern dance and dance literacy in the Harbour City and communities throughout the region. She and Allison’s creative paths crossed when the musician, (now nesting in Corner Brook, NL), was living year-round on BC’s rock – with one particularly brilliant spark emanating from a multi-disciplinary show at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre – presented by the non-profit mental health organization “Open Minds Open Windows”.

“I heard Allison sing Hallelujah at Open Minds Open Windows event we both performed in,” Holly Bright recounts. “I knew I had to dance to her version of this song and my deepest desire was to do it live. It was the perfect ending to a mixed concert around themes of life and death in a cancer society fundraising dance concert produced by Crimson Coast Dance Society.”

In my experience most interpretations of this song give it a down-and-out quality. Don’t get me wrong, these are exquisite and captivating renditions, absolutely hitting one important point of view for this song. What compelled me about Allison’s version was how I related viscerally to the hope contained within her phrasing. It is a shout that comes from deep within her. It seems to me a cry born out of the experience of being broken, of the effect of pride, of loss, of the experience of deep love, spiritual and relational and of life’s call, promise, to heal and grow.”

She composed her interpretation like an anthem, with swelling voice, in such a way as to express the pure passion of the experience of learning about love the hard way. Every sentence in that song slays me, anyway, with an impact for which there are no words. Every line breaks my heart, then proceeds to heal it. Then the ending pauses and builds are like love-making, making everything alright somehow.”

The text is sheer poetry, we all know that, and Leonard Cohen is brilliant. “Love is not a victory march, it is a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.” My God, I cannot even say those words without my heart sinking while growing at the same time. And isn’t that what we long for out of the experience of brokenness… the possibility of hope… of learning and growing… of feeling the weight of what went wrong and the healing promise that life brings.”

The challenge of creating movement for that dance that was not predictable yet that would weave metaphor into a song that was already dripping with it was delicious. Allison’s YES to my request for the privilege of performing to her singing Hallelujah was a highlight of my career. And the experience itself, on stage, her voice rising to shake the rafters where the angels hang, had me feeling naked “before the lord of song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah“.

Holly”

Holly Bright in ‘Costing Not Less Than Everything’, photo by Willow Friday (nee Chandler)

Coda: The dancer’s elemental expression pulses outward in the public pool. That reflection of this performance, one dance piece in Bright’s “This Body of Knowledge” program, is recorded by a trio of reviews published in March and April 2004:

“Holly Bright’s piece introduced the fifth artist of the evening. Allison Crowe sang a soaring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. She caressed and scraped the lyrics turning Cohen’s song into an anthem. Bright matched this knockout performance with a solo that was sinuous, lush and beautifully phrased. The extension of her expressive arms embraced space and the emotional content of the song majestically.” ~ Russell Kilde (choreographer, theatre director, critic)

“Nanaimo’s own Holly Bright and Allison Crowe provided a stunning finale to the evening. Crowe sang Leonard Cohen¹s “Hallelujah” with a depth and power that made the song soar. Bright¹s duet with the music was filled with strength, vulnerability and intense beauty. Alternating between moments of expansion and quiet intensity, the music and the movement were woven together expertly. The result was a clear revelation of the pathos and the brilliance of human experience.” ~ Keri Wehlander (author, lyricist+)

“In the final number, Allison Crowe at the piano joined Crimson Coast’s Holly Bright for a radiant, rousing, celebratory rendition of Leonard Cohen’s lovely “Hallelujah,” with Holly’s graceful, expansive movements providing the visual corollary for Allison’s full, vibrant voice, completing the circle, merging body and spirit, body and mind.” ~ Shirley Goldberg (Film Studies instructor, writer, cinephile/critic)

In the dance, life – to quote Leonard Cohen anew – “God is alive, magic is afoot”.

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Midnight Memories Ever-Fresh

When Allison Crowe and her then-trio, Dave Baird on bass and Kevin Clevette on drums, were starting to roll internationally – film director and Hollywood+ steadi-cam veteran Alex Postowoi offered to shoot a band video. The song chosen for Allison’s first, and only, “story” video was “Midnight”. Tami Mancey and Josh Dahling were the lead actors. Full credits and this charming video itself can be found @ Allison Crowe and the Midnight Video

Alex Postowoi - film-maker behind Allison's DVD + vids
To add to the aural fun, at White Rock, BC’s Turtle studios Allison’s trio was joined on mandolin by Robert Ford, of Canuck Celtic rock legends, The Stoaters, as well as Hammond wizard Darryl Havers (Ferron, Alan Doyle, Brickhouse, Raffi+). With some additional support from “One-take Eddie” Johnson, percussion, and Larry “Turtle” Anschell handling guitar and production – Midnight “The Single” was born. This (2002) was no longer the heyday of “music television”, but, it still was a place many bands and fans looked to connect. Canada’s counterpart to MTV passed on playing “Midnight” – deeming it “too country”.

With Allison about to join Karen Sparkes and Gerri Lynn Mackey, personable hosts of CFCB 570AM Radio, home to new and classic country music, for an on-air chat, the memory brings forth a chuckle :)

Grab a sarsaparilla and kick back – here’s “Midnight”, as performed by Allison Crowe and friends, sounding as fresh and invigorating as the day they all came together.

Seems some browsers and operating systems respond differently to things and, so, should you have any problem watching the “Midnight” video directly on the site of film-maker, Alex Postowoi, we’ve made this page on Allison Crowe’s home-site which may provide additional viewing options.

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Double Dip of Leonard Cohen Ballet News

Marvellous and mysterious blogger DrHGuy, miner of many Leonard Cohen-faceted diamonds, today presents a post de deux on Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the recent engagement of musician Allison Crowe – performing Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with the RWB:

http://1heckofaguy.com/2012/06/16/allison-crowe-gets-the-pointe +

http://drhguy.posterous.com/ballet-with-allison-crowe

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RWB’s Leonard Cohen Ballet Success Rolls North in New Program

“Leonard Cohen’s music comes to life at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet“, CBC News reports earlier this month. After profoundly moving audiences during its world premiere run at Manitoba’s Centennial Concert Hall, this weekend “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen” rolls into Northern Manitoba for performances in: The Pas, May 25; Flin Flon, May 26; and Thompson, MB, May 27. In these communities, the Jorden Morris-choreographed “Doorway” is on a program with Peter Quanz’s “In Tandem” and Brian Macdonald’s “Pas D’Action“.

In 1959, it was Brian Macdonald’s “Les Whoops-De-Doo” that the RWB premiered in Flin Flon. And, it’s another Macdonald creation, 1970’s “The Shining People of Leonard Cohen“, which premiered in Paris, France, that marked the first time a professional theatre or dance company produced the works of Canada’s iconic songsmith on stage.

Of the “Shining People” production, cultural commentator Max Wyman notes: “That was absolutely in tune with the zeitgeist. But it was intriguing stuff as well. People loved it.” (More from Wyman, and many more people on the inspiring story of the “constant phoenix” that is the RWB can be enjoyed in the award-winning documentary “40 Years of One Night Stands: The Story of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet“.)

Of the newest ballet to the words and music of Cohen, Alison Mayes of The Winnipeg Free Press recounts: “Last year, Winnipeg’s Jorden Morris was asked to choreograph a pas de deux to Leonard Cohen’s soulful ‘Dance Me to the End of Love‘ for the nationally televised Genie Awards. It was so well received that the Royal Winnipeg Ballet commissioned Morris to create a longer work to songs by the legendary Cohen. The 44-year-old dancemaker, who teaches at the RWB School and created the company’s hits Peter Pan and Moulin Rouge” now is opening “The Doorway“.

In it, Corps de Ballet member Sophia Lee, (paired with Jaime Vargas for the Genies sensation), dances “Hallelujah” – to the voice and piano of Allison Crowe. On opening, Crowe spoke with CBC Manitoba Scene Producer Andrea Ratuski: “I feel so humbled and so grateful to be a part of this. This is such an amazing company to be able to work with and I’m just so excited. It’s so beautiful to be able to watch Sophia dance — and all the other dancers, too — all the songs. They translate so beautifully. You can kind of see the lyrics within the dance. It’s gorgeous.”

RWB’s Sophia Lee dances to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” w. Allison Crowe onstage (CBC News – screen-cap)

Feelings shared by the audience. “Spine-tingling” That’s how Holly Harris, dance reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press, describes the ballet performance of “Hallelujah“. Dan Aysan, owner of Winnipeg’s renowned Selim’s Antiques, and RWB season ticket-holder for much of 26 years posts: “Well… the Royal Winnipeg Ballet surprised me last night. Everything I had ever wanted them to do was done! They focused on the dance and not overwhelming production… and it captivated. The lighting and sound production were fantastic… but rarely did they overshadow the dancers themselves. ‘Luminous‘ was astonishing and EXACTLY the type of work I hope the RWB considers doing more of. ‘The Doorway’ was a wild mix of dance, live music and spoken word that surprised me with it’s depth and simplicity (how often do you get dancers’ movements, Leonard Cohen’s words & music with a smattering of Peter Gzowski’s voice mashed up on stage ?!?)”

CHVN Radio’s Adrienne Daniels attended the opening, and comments: “the triumph of this performance was Mr. Cohen himself. He wasn’t there, but the RWB used audio from interviews he did regarding the songs being danced to and it gave such an incredible insight into the performance that it took it to that magical level. Where spirit and art connect and you FEEL the music. You feel it in your soul, its tangible with your hands and you can literally taste it.

“I was witness to one of the most moving spectacles of human expression that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. My soul took flight for over 2 hours as I watched the poetic nature of the human form in motion; dancing, swaying, fighting, loving, understanding and confusing all at once.”

Details of “The Doorway“, “In Tandem” and “Pas D’Action” performances this weekend, (to recorded music), can be found on the RWB’s site @ http://www.rwb.org/

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