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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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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Time After Time – Allison Crowe live (Nanaimo Tidings Concert)

Allison Crowe performs at the annual “Tidings” concert in her birth-place of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. (The same event at which her live performance of “I Never Loved a Man” is captured.)

Here Crowe delivers a song from her child-hood – Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman’s ’80s pop gem “Time After Time“.

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Concert video captured by Del Crowe and audio by Scott Littlejohn.

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Allison Crowe – Disease (White Rock/Corner Brook) – complete

Disease” – Allison Crowe’s vocal and piano performance captured in concert on International Women’s Day in 2008 (08/03/08) – at Turtle Recording’s 20th anniversary celebration. Larry Anschell and Brad Graham co-engineered the audio – showcasing Turtle’s fine-tuned mobile recording expertise heard in music releases from Allison, Pearl Jam, Bif Naked, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Sarah McLachlan and others from the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

“Power-house intense” says an European reviewer, “”the energy of ‘Disease‘ can easily provide electricity to a small country for a decade.”

http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/disease-08-03-08

Ready to ward off rolling blackouts where e’er they may threaten, this uniquely trans-national creation features Allison Crowe’s live music recorded by Turtle’s dynamic duo, Anschell and Graham, in White Rock, BC – on Canada’s Pacific coast.

Visually representing the live intensity is footage from “A Corner Brook Tidings” – the charming 2012 documentary film directed and produced by Peter Buckle – a project graciously supported by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, with special thanks to Katrina Rice, NLAC Program Officer. Buckle and his camera team crew, Ryan David Butt and Jamie Brace, filmed Allison’s “Tidings” concert in Corner Brook, Newfoundland – on Canada’s Atlantic coast.

Psychedelically fusing this bi-coastal experience is Vimeo’s “Amoeba” enhancer.

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Disease (White Rock/Corner Brook)

Allison Crowe performs live – “Disease” – coast-to-coast ‘cross Canada. Concert footage filmed by Peter Buckle and crew in Corner Brook, Newfoundland with audio captured by Larry Anschell and Turtle’s co-engineer Brad Graham in White Rock, British Columbia.

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Full performance video coming soon to Allison Crowe’s facebook, Vimeo, YouTube + pages.

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Allison Crowe Europe Tournee – May 2014

Rock and roll!! Enriched by almost two years of focus on recording, film and theatre productions at home in Canada, Allison Crowe and the A-team, guided by the legendary road-meister Axel Dollheiser, resume international concert touring this Spring.

First up – May 2014 brings a return to some favourite venues in Germany and Italy, alongside wunderbar new music rooms:

03.05Siebenklang Musikfestspiele – Bernau bei Berlin
07.05Jazzlokal Mampf – Frankfurt
11.05Jazzhaus – Freiburg im Breisgau
13.05Stumm’sche Reithalle – Nuenkirchen (Saar)
15.05Inninger Spectacel – Inning am Ammersee
17.05Teatro del Sale – Florence
20.05Hot Jazz Club – Münster
22.05Lindenpark – Potsdam

Most dates feature Allison with very special guest Billie Woods also performing a set.

The tour-opening show is already sold out – Ausverkauft! Full details as they come together are found @ http://www.facebook.com/AllisonCroweMusic/events and  http://allisoncrowe.com/tour.html

Bringing Allison’s live performance home for us all – experience soon a series of music videos coming to facebook, Vimeo, YouTube +

Here’s a screen cap from Newfoundland-based film-maker Peter Buckle’s documentary footage – psychedelicized by Vimeo’s “Amoeba” enhancer.

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Great Voice, Heart in World’s Embrace

Musician Allison Crowe and her tour-mates, photographer-musician Billie Woods and road manager-driver Axel Dollheiser, depart today from lovely Quedlinburg, birthplace of the German nation.

This marks the final point in a magical concert tour – the stuff of legend.

Andreas Wiesentau reports of last night’s show “there was applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause!”

The standing ovations, and, on average, three encores a night, across this European tour are emblematic of a deep, and broadening, love between artist and audience.

Thank you, danke, grazie, merci – Mampf, Frankfurt, Osterkirche, Berlin, SHAPE Club, Mons, Inninger Spectacel, Inning am Ammersee, Teatro del Sale, Firenze, Palais Salfeldt, Quedlinburg – and all the people of Germany, Belgium, Italy, and all countries, encountered in every way!!!

May we meet again :)

Quedlinburg, Germany – nestled in the Harz Mountains, host to the final concert of the tour – Allison Crowe foto

Allison Crowe, one of the great artists of this, or any, time, soon returns home to Canada – following a loving, and smashingly fun and successful, European concert tour.

In North America, she’s been likened to Joni Mitchell, Eddie Vedder, Edith Piaf, Elton John… To these, continental perception now adds the names of modern-day composer, author and actor, Konstantin Wecker, one of Germany’s best-known singer-songwriters, and Modest Mussorgsky, innovative Russian composer.

Christian Meindl kindly provides us with this translation of a konzert review – published recently in Germany’s largest paid circulation newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. Chris notes that he’s not a “native speaker” – still, this translation sure helps the English-language reader appreciate the universal appeal of Allison Crowe:

GREAT VOICE

The Canadian singer Allison Crowe at the „Spectacel“ in Inning

Of course, she had to play her absolute hit, the song which was written by Leonard Cohen and gained her fame: „Hallelujah“. In doing so, Allison Crowe performs the song without any trace of kitsch, sings with a high sound intensity, a bit blues orientated and with a dedication which shows almost religious tendencies. Gooseflesh music. The renters of Inning’s musical center, the “Spectacel”, made it to commit Allison Crowe for one evening.

Already with her first introductions, Allison Crowe wins the favor of the audience and increases the expectations with her coloratural laugh. Allison Crowe plays the piano with a strong grip. Its sound fits perfect to her light-smoky, expressive, in short: great voice. Sometimes, her play remembers to the keyboard-capers of Konstantin Wecker and in the following moment to Modest Mussorgsky’s „Pictures at an Exhibition“.

Crowe’s vocals stay also steady at higher tones and enthused at the lows. Wonderful ballads alternate with hard played songs. The lyrics are always well articulated. Allison Crowe plays guitar as well, accompanies her vocals with mellow sounds. Followed by hard rhythms on the piano. She starts the „Hallelujah“ with a wonderful melancholic introduction, sings with great fervor and shows what her voice is able to perform.

Another strong voice has Billie Woods who opens the concert with her songs. The as well attractive as high-musical singer and guitarist surprises with her unusual chord structure for what she’d to retune her instrument a few times. And that the guitar is intrinsically a rhythm-instrument is proofed by Billie Woods with lots of persuasiveness.

Of course, both musicians have to play encores.

PETER BAIER

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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Große Stimme – Allison Crowe

Published in the print edition of “Süddeutsche Zeitung“, Germany’s largest national subscription daily newspaper, is this review of the latest concert in the tour of Allison Crowe and Billie Woods. The article, penned by kultur journalist Peter Baier, is not yet translated into English language. Still, any discussion of Allison’s musik that references Leonard Cohen and Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” has a solid grasp of things, so, we’re happy now, and will only become more happy :)

click image above to see full newspaper copy

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Dienstag, den 16. Oktober 2012

Große Stimme

Die kanadische Sängerin Allison Crowe im Inninger „Spectacel“

Inning – Natürlich muss sie den von ihr gecoverten Hit singen, das Stück von Leonard Cohen, das sie erst so richtig prominent werden ließ: „Hallelujah“, gespielt miteiner wunderbar melancholischen Einleitung. Dabei kommt Allison Crowe ohne jeden Kitsch aus, singt mit großer Lautstärke, ein bisschen blues-orientiert und mit einer Hingabe, die schon fast zum Religiösen tendiert. Gänsehaut-Musik. Die Betreiber des „Spectacel“, Innings musikalisches Zentrum, haben es geschafft, Allison Crowe für einen Abend zu verpflichten. Und Crowe zeigt, was ihre hergibt.

Bereits mit ihren ersten Ansagen gewinnt die kanadische Songwriterin mit eigenem Label die Gunst des Publikums, lässt mit ihrem Koloratur-Lachen die Erwartung auf Weiteres ansteigen. Mit kräftigem Zugriff spielt Allison Crowe das Klavier, zu dessen Klang ihre leicht rauchige, ausducksstarke, kurz: große Stimme hervorragend passt. Manchmal erinnert ihr Spiel an die Tasten-Eskapaden eines Konstantin Wecker, dann wieder gibt es Momente, die an den Stil von Modest Mussorgsky’s „Bilder einer Ausstellung“ denken lassen.

Crowes Gesang bleibt auch in den Höhen absolut sicher, begeistert geradezu in den Tiefen. Wunderschöne Balladen wechseln sich ab mit harten Songs, die Texte sind stets gut verständlich. Allison Crowe greift auch zur Gitarre, begleitet ihren Gesang mit zarten Tönen. Und wechselt dann wieder zu hartem Rhythmus auf dem Klavier. Eine ähnlich starke Stimme hat auch Billie Woods, die mit ihren Liedern das Konzert eröffnet. Die ebenso attraktive wie hochmusikalische Sängerin und Gitarristin überrascht mit ungewohnten Akkordstrukturen, wofür sie ihr Instrument mehrfach umstimmt. Und dass die Gitarre eigentlich ein Rhythmusinstrument ist, belegt Billie Woods mit großer Überzeugungskraft.

Natürlich müssen beide Musikerinnen Zugaben spielen.

PETER BAIER

Allison Crowe’s Europa Tour 2012 images can be viewed in Allison’s facebook gallery – click here, and in the facebook album of musician and photographer Billie Woods – click here.

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Here’s looking at you – Allison Crowe Euro Tour 2012 foto album by Billie Woods

Musician Billie Woods shows another of her creative sides – as a photographer – in this foto album of the concert tour which launched last night in Frankfurt, Germany.

Here’s Allison Crowe pictured at Mampf, Mischi’s legendary jazzlokal. This is one of a series of images in a foto album you can explore on facebook – click here!

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Allison Crowe Concert Tour Launch: National Holiday in Germany

It’s “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” – Day of German Unity – today and Allison Crowe, one of the great performing artists of our time, or any time, launches her newest concert tour in Frankfurt amidst a wave of national celebration. As well as being present to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-union of West and East Germany in 1990 – Axel Dollheiser, Crowe’s European Road Manager, reports this visit to the continent will include a few pints at Oktoberfest in Munich.

Concert performances this month by the Canadian singer-songwriter, vocalist-pianist, Allison Crowe and special guest musician, and photographer, Billie Woods, include:

03.10.2012 – Frankfurt, Germany @ Jazzlokal Mampf
05.10.2012 – Berlin, Germany @ Evangelische Osterkirche
10.10.2012 – Mons, Belgium @ SHAPE Club
13.10.2012 – Inning Am Ammersee, Germany @ Inninger Spectacel
17.10.2012 – Florence, Italy @ Teatro del Sale
19.10.2012 – Quedlinburg, Germany @ Palais Salfeldt

We’re ready!!” says Christine Geyer, who posts this foto from Mampf, Frankfurt

Before embarking on this tour, for the past year Crowe’s been extremely active in North America where she’s served as Music Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’sNewfoundland Vinyl,” a rollicking hit at this Summer’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival. As well, she’s super-busy off-stage with movie projects, including a “Tidings Live” documentary, directed by film-maker Peter Buckle, set to premiere in December 2012.

On-stage, Crowe’s performed “Hallelujah” for the World Premiere run of “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen” – the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s thrilling, new, Cohen-inspired ballet. This November, she rejoins the RWB as the dance, choreographed by Jorden Morris (“Moulin Rouge”), delights audiences again – and she’ll perform “Hallelujah” solo as well as duet on “Bird on a Wire” with Cris Williamson, the legendary American singer-songwriter, activist, and independent music trail-blazer.

Fuller details upcoming @ allisoncrowe.com

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