Why + L’Atalante – Special Screening

Now Showing: Special Screening of “Why + L’Atalante” – one in the series of Allison Crowe’s “16 Songs” video album slated for wide release this month.

In advance of the reel unveiling in sequence, the curtain rises on Allison’s IMDb player – with showings in SD, 480 and HD quality (adjustable settings on the left side of screen):

Famous in its original, glorious, pop incarnation by singer-songwriter Annie Lennox, “Why” is a song recast here by Allison Crowe’s elemental voice and guitar.

Why + L'Atalante - IMDb - Allison Crowe

“Art is emotion” observed Alfred Hitchcock, and the Canadian musician’s singular way of communicating emotion makes her one of the great interpreters in popular music today as well as one of our finest modern songwriters and concert performers.

Strings on this version are gorgeously arranged and orchestrated by Hollywood film-scorer Kayla Schmah – herself an artist inspired by the themes and ideas of Hitch’s frequent collaborator, the brilliant, pioneering, composer Bernard Herrmann.

“This song is stunning. I can’t stop listening to it,” says Dartmouth-based dancer, Julie Dumont, “it makes me want to cry and dance all at the same time”.

The music’s visually paired with an excerpt from Jean Vigo’s marvellous cinema masterpiece – “L’Atalante” (1934).

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3074862105

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Sing Out! In Our Global Village

The Leonard Cohen Files’ now lists 567 different cover versions of Leonard Cohen’s much-loved “Hallelujah” – recordings made in dozens of countries and numerous languages: http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/coverlist.php

Hallelujah” is a popular song we’ve been able to widely and directly witness become a standard – as this process has occurred during, and, in part, thanks to, this age of the internet reaching near-ubiquity.

The global expanse of songs such as The Beatles’ “Yesterday”, (with some 3000 interpretations on record), and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, (nearing 1000 covers at latest count – http://jonimitchell.com/music/covers-most.cfm ), and most other tunes which have become standards in the canons of pop and rock – and many more in folk, jazz and other genres – has, largely, been a phenomenon experienced offline (and these songs grew into universal favourites not in our real-time view).

The introduction of “Hallelujah” to a mass audience – via such channels as 2001’s Hollywood hit animated film “Shrek” – has been augmented and amplified by the world wide web.

Music and video sites online enable songs to be shared around, enjoyed and learned – grassroots traditions of jam sessions, campfire sing-alongs, church choirs and other communal ways that music is transported, today can be propelled by the advance in technology (and digital devices, in hand, enable more people to make recordings).

Not only can people world-wide experience music more readily, and in greater richness and variety, than in pre-internet times, folks are now able to express what it all means to them and reflect back to the same giant community “so that all souls can see it”.

For myself, serving as manager to Allison Crowe, a musician creating in these exciting times, one of the profound pleasures now possible is regularly hearing how people are moved by music.

Reflections on Hallelujah” @ http://blog.farmgirlwrites.com/2014/06/reflections-on-hallelujah.html – posted by Washington, DC-based blogger, “Farmgirl Writes”, is the sort of thing that inspires appreciation and understanding of a song and our fellow beings.

And, (especially for those with more dexterity and musical talent or dedication to this course than I), there’s such sites as “Chordify” – which show how we can play the music we love – http://chordify.net/chords/allison-crowe-hallelujah-live-in-the-studio-adrian22

Chordify - Allison Crowe

Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words” – a new book that’s exactly what its title promises – Joni’s voice heard through a trio of decades-spanning interviews with her friend, artist and journalist, Malka Marom – is released this week (officially, September 9, 2014).

Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, offers a typically entertaining and enlightening post in review @ http://1heckofaguy.com/2014/09/03/book-review-joni-mitchell-talks-about-growing-up-art-songwriting-love-and-leonard-cohen

I’ve mentioned this previously in a post to my own (Adrian’s personal facebook) page and – not unrelated to L. Cohen, the nature of popular songs, their interpretation and sharing – this book includes choice commentary.

River... Joni Mitchell’s whole album Blue is timeless,” Allison remarked when she covered the uniquely ever-green song on her own album “Tidings” in 2004.

And “River”, like “Hallelujah”, has witnessed an accelerated cultural expanse and embrace in these digital media times. Currently, Bob Muller, the Grand Poobah of Covers at JoniMitchell.com, tracks 402 different versions of Mitchell’s song @ http://jonimitchell.com/music/covers-most.cfm

The song established itself steadily over the decades – with some 200 covers being made from the time of its release on “Blue” in 1971 to 2007. In these last seven years, the total number of “River” covers has doubled.

In this new book, the brilliant singer, songwriter, composer, painter+ tells her confidante and interviewer: “There was a funny article in the L.A. Times. The guy was ranting, ‘Why are all these people covering Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’? It’s overexposed.’ That’s what he said, and I thought, ‘This person has no concept of what a standard is. A standard is a good song enjoyed by many.’ A lot of singers wanted to sing it, and it kept the song alive.”

Malka asks: “How do you feel when people sing your songs, any song, or play it completely different, like with ‘normal’ chords, and different arrangements?”

Joni says: “I think it’s great, I feel honoured. I like the idea of songs being sung. I like the idea that people who can’t even sing are singing them…”

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“Hallelujah” – Allison Crowe performs Leonard Cohen

Tonight, at the Banff Centre, a cultural beacon alight in the majestic Rocky Mountains since 1933, Canada’s amazing Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents an exciting and inspiring mixed program of dance from three exceptional choreographers: “Quantz by Quanz” (Peter Quanz); “The Doorway” (Jorden Morris); “Pas D’Action” (Brian Macdonald).

The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen”, choreographed by Jorden Morris, lattices interviews/spoken word recordings, along with: “The Letters” performed by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes for the CD “Dear Heather“; “Bird on a Wire” as recorded by Adam Cohen for the compilation “A Song for My Father”; “Hallelujah” – the “Tidings” album recording by Allison Crowe; “Since You Asked“, a poem composed by Judy Collins and recited by Leonard Cohen from the CD “Born to the Breed”; and “Sisters of Mercy” recorded live by iconic US singer-songwriter Cris Williamson on the CD “Circle of Friends“.

The RWB was the first company anywhere in the world to stage a production melding works of the Montreal-born singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist – presenting “The Shining People of Leonard Cohen“, with choreography by Brian Macdonald, in 1970. Choreographer Jorden Morris’ “The Doorway” opened in 2012 and, again, represents a company uniquely in tune with the zeitgeist.

Cohen, at age 79, is today enjoying universal appreciation of his works. “Hallelujah” is a much-loved modern standard. His recordings, from “Suzanne” to “The Darkness”+, remain as popular now as the day of their release. A key to such timeless appeal was revealed some years back – when asked by an interviewer about the impact of commercialization, the songwriter explained:

“Well, each person here at this table is a victim of the commercialization of life. I’m sure I haven’t escaped. But I can say one thing – I have been tempted by the money. I have been tempted by the glory… I don’t think there is any man that can escape those temptations. But I feel that I have not put out any songs that were designed to exploit the commercial market.”

http://www.vimeo.com/85053330

Allison Crowe’s first release of “Hallelujah” was over ten years ago – http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/hallelujah – and, it, too, has continued to increase in resonance since the “Tidings” EP of 2003. Here, in video form, Allison performs Cohen’s song – captured in real-time by film director Alex Postowoi and crew and audio engineer Larry Anschell at Turtle Recording by-the-sea in White Rock, BC, Canada. (As with recent Beatles’ interpretations from this same live-in-the-studio session, this is in higher-fidelity than has been previously available.)

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Lights, Cameras… Cassidy

Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder discusses action of the newest Superman movie shot inside the historic Cassidy Inn pub on Vancouver Island, BC. Allison Crowe, in a role very familiar to the Canadian musician, appears in this scene with Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Ian Tracey (Ludlow), Carmen Lavigne (Chrissy), Howard Siegel (Weaver) and other members of the cast – actors whom it was a delight to meet and an honour to work alongside. Same goes for the privilege of working with the film’s amazing crew and production team – a stellar family of professionals united in creativity.

The Blu-Ray edition of “Man of Steel” released in late 2013, includes a feature called “Journey of Discovery”. Zack Snyder and many of the people involved walk us through the making of MoS from pretty much every angle. It’s extraordinary, and, rather than taking away from the movie magic – the explanations of how the science fiction epic comes together leave you more enthralled. It’s super – and fun:

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“Something to Crowe About” Sings Telegram

Allison Crowe - detail of photograph by Geraldine Brophy in The Western Star / The Telegram

Allison Crowe – photograph by Cory Hurley in The Western Star / The Telegram

Something to Crowe about” sings The Telegram - sharing word of the discerning culture blog, Muruch , naming two of Allison Crowe’s albums among the best of 2013 and one of her new original songs its top pick for the year.

The newspaper notes:

“The West Virginia-based Muruch placed Crowe’s album “Heavy Graces” at No. 10 and “Newfoundland Vinyl” at No. 2, second only to “Pure Heroine” by Lorde. The blog also selected Crowe’s “Words” from the “Heavy Graces” record as the top song of the year for its annual list of the 50 best songs of the year, which also found room for three cuts from “Newfoundland Vinyl”: “Black Velvet Band” (No. 12), “Men Who Die for a Living” (No. 18) and “Skipper Billy’s Wake” (No. 28).”

The Telegram is Newfoundland and Labrador’s major daily newspaper. Pioneering website Muruch has been sharing favourite albums, live performances, films and literature online since 1999. The full article can be enjoyed @ http://www.thetelegram.com/Living/Entertainment/2014-01-02/article-3561458/Something-to-Crowe-about/1

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Song of the Year, Top Albums Nods for Allison Crowe

“The difficult I’ll do right now, the impossible’ll take a little while”. That’s pretty much always been the way of musician Allison Crowe.

This year proves ”weirdly typical” as ever for the amazing bi-coastal Canadian artist – to quote a phrase from one of 2013’s fine reviews.

In it, Crowe’s released three peerless albums (“Newfoundland Vinyl”, “Heavy Graces”, and the compilation “Songbook”), musically directed a hit theatre show (TNL’s “Newfoundland Vinyl”), saw one song recording used brilliantly in a trailer for a major independent motion picture (“Hallelujah” w. “The Pardon”), and appeared, pretty much as herself, in one of the year’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters (“Man of Steel”).

Now ‘Top Song of the Year’ nod for Allison Crowe’s “Words” comes from the annual list of Muruch, the passionate and uncompromising culture blog that’s been sharing favourite albums, live performances, films and literature online since 1999.

Words”, from the album “Heavy Graces”, features, for the first time, Allison playing her Great-Grandfather’s fiddle (along with her singing, playing guitar, arranging, engineering, producing and all those things she regularly does!). A trio of songs from her “Newfoundland Vinyl” album, also released this year, are found in the Top 50: “Black Velvet Band” (12); “Men Who Die for a Living” (18); and “Skipper Billy’s Wake” (28).

Artists joining Allison Crowe in the top ten picks are: Alice Boman; Trent Dabbs; Lorde; Vienna Teng; Foxygen; Imagine Dragons; MS MR; & Janelle Monae (feat. Erykah Badu). Enjoy videos and music – of “Words” and all of Muruch’s ‘Top 50 Songs’ @ http://www.muruch.com/2013/12/muruch-2013-top-songs.html


The West Virginia-based blog follows the song list with its Top 25 Albums – and Allison Crowe’s two new albums this year both land in the top ten. Remarking: “The top three are really interchangeable, they are far too brilliant and too different from each other to truly rank”, Muruch slots Crowe’s “Newfoundland Vinyl” second, book-ended by Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” (#1) and Foxygen’s “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” (#3).

Crowe’s tribute to songs of her Atlantic home region contains traditional tunes, such as “Black Velvet Band” as well as interpretations of such modern classics as “The Mobile Goat Song”, (a Tom Cahill-penned hit for Joan Morrissey), Gary O’Driscoll’s elegiac “Men Who Die for a Living” and Ron Hynes’ anthemic “Sonny’s Dream”. This set, released on vinyl, “plays like a lovely, vintage collection of traditional Irish and Canadian folk ballads, lively sea chanteys and drinking songs, parlour songs and country tunes with surprising retro, girl-pop harmonies woven throughout…full of dazzling melody and such a unique charm…Allison’s voice is so strong and spectacular,” says Muruch. “It has the timeless beauty of a classic folk album.”

Heavy Graces” combines Allison Crowe’s newest original song recordings with singular covers of Leonard Cohen (“Famous Blue Raincoat”) and Pearl Jam (“Better Man”) – and this album occupies the tenth spot on the albums of the year list, as described by Muruch: “what a lush piece of work…a touch of Celtic folk in the instrumentation, haunting backing vocals and a slow building, seething tension until Allison unleashes her wail”. The complete list of top album picks – which also includes this year’s releases from Elton John, Molly Drake, Hem, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Janelle Monae and more – is available @ http://www.muruch.com/2013/12/muruch-2013-top-albums.html

Here’s to a very happy, healthy, New Year – one and all!
Musician Allison Crowe sails through year with top albums, movies and more

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Superfun Year

To quote a phrase, it’s been a “weirdly typical” year for musician Allison Crowe – who’s released three peerless albums in 2013 (“Newfoundland Vinyl”, “Heavy Graces”, and the compilation “Songbook”), musically directed a hit theatre show (TNL’s “Newfoundland Vinyl”), saw one song recording used brilliantly in a trailer for a major independent motion picture (“Hallelujah” w. “The Pardon”), and appeared, pretty much as herself, in one of the year’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters (“Man of Steel’).

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Allison’s recording of “Hallelujah” is soundtrack to trailer for “The Pardon” – starring Jaime King and John Hawkes

Of the latter experience, super-fun was also had by Allison when she was invited by “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder and producer Deborah Snyder to New York City in June for the premiere of the epic science-fiction adventure movie. Newly-posted video from the Lincoln Centre red carpet chaos captures arrival on the scene of: Rebecca Buller (Jenny Olsen), Cooper Timberline (very young Clark Kent), Allison (about one minute in), Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-O), Zack and Deborah Snyder, Superman himself, Henry Cavill, with his family, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjQ7BdacR3Y

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Arrivals for the red-carpet premiere of “Man of Steel” in NYC

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Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet Opens “Doorway” Anew

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will perform its brilliant and beautiful dance, choreographed by Jorden Morris – “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen” in a mixed repertoire program – January 25, 2014 at the Eric Harvie Theatre, The Banff Centre – Alberta, Canada:

http://www.banffcentre.ca/event/6346/royal-winnipeg-ballet?d=2014-01-25+19%3A30

Royal Winnipeg Ballet returns to The Banff Centre with a unique mixed program that will not appear anywhere else on their Canadian tour. The complex and beautiful songs of Leonard Cohen come to life in Jorden Morris’s new ballet, The Doorway. Plus works by Banff Centre alumnus Peter Quanz, William Forsyth, and Canadian dance legend, Brian Macdonald.

Repertoire includes:

Quantz by Quanz – Peter Quanz

The Doorway – Jorden Morris

Pas D’Action – Brian Macdonald”

Amazing choreography, dancers and spirit combine for one of the most exciting and enervating collaborative opportunities ever enjoyed by Allison Crowe – whose interpretation of Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, she’s thrilled, is part of this ballet:http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/hallelujah

Banff, already a wonderful place to be, will be even moreso when theRWB comes to town!

Sophia Lee in performance of "The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen" - Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Sophia Lee dances to Allison Crowe’s performance of “Hallelujah” in “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen” – during the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s debut run in May 2012

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Fun Universe Brings Allison Crowe’s Music Home this Holiday Season

How does one of the world’s great musical voices, and most independent artists on the planet, land amidst a face-off between man and Superman in an Hollywood blockbuster?

“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.”

The film-maker, along with his stellar cast and crew, deliver insights into the production of this epic science fiction adventure, in “Journey of Discovery”, a just-released special feature of MoS in Blu-ray edition.

“(Zack) keeps trying to get me into movies and it’s amazing,” responds Crowe in the feature. “I first kinda met Zack over the internet about songs online… I think about four or five years ago the first one would have been the ‘Watchmen’ and he was looking to do ‘Hallelujah’. And then the second one we were looking at another song for ‘Sucker Punch’ and so now we have Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ and the altercation ensues…”

Allison Crowe with Zack Snyder on “Man of Steel” set – photo courtesy Clay Enos / Warner Bros.

The movie itself reveals how all the pieces fit – and it’s an exhilarating ride and humbling experience for the Canadian singer-songwriter. And it’s all inspiring.

“In an entertainment world that increasingly genuflects at the altar of instant fame, Crowe seems an anomaly, building her career slowly and carefully,” commented Times Colonist newspaper scribe Adrian Chamberlain some years back. Fine-tuned at the keyboard in arts reportage, (and an r’n’b combo), the writer noted how the “Nanaimo songbird seems uninterested in celebrity and its trappings”.

The universe is ever-expanding for the now Corner Brook, Newfoundland-based, Vancouver Island-born, Crowe, still her goals and values are constant. “Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music is what I want to make,” she’s said. More than a dozen years along the road less-traveled, she succeeds like no one else.

From attending the red-carpet premiere and festivities of “Man of Steel” this Summer, she traveled from New York City to Cow Head, NL to musically direct the hit stage show “Newfoundland Vinyl”, a production of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. Her LP/album of the same name, joins her latest, “Heavy Graces” among 2013’s best new releases. Crowe’s third album out this year, “Songbook”, is an oeuvre-spanning 22-song compilation.

People everywhere can enjoy the music – and folks in Allison Crowe’s hometowns can join in “Tidings”, a celebration of music for the season and all-time, happening:

Nov. 30 – Arts and Culture Centre, Corner Brook, NL
Dec. 7 – Fairfield United Church, Victoria, BC – to aid Artemis Place and HepCBC
Dec. 12 – Real Food, Old City Quarter, Nanaimo, BC – Community Sing-along to aid Haven Society
Dec. 14 – St. Andrew’s United Church, Nanaimo, BC – with guests: Chelsea Peckett; Daniel Knapp; Melissa Kahan; Taylor Johnstone; Raymond Salgado; & Josh Holloway – to aid Woodlands Secondary Band and Basketball

Concert and community sing-along details coming soon.

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Curtain Rises on “The Pardon”

Makers of “The Pardon” movie are rolling with news of a series of screenings slated this month for Louisiana, the location of the film’s historic action.

The World Premiere happens March 13, 2013 in the Theatres at Canal Place in New Orleans. This night will be a benefit for The Eden House – a charity devoted to helping women who’ve been victims of human trafficking. After this special showing, the film opens on screens in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Lafayette, and Shreveport, LA on March 22, 2013. (Additional release dates tba)

The Pardon” stars Jaime King (Sin City, Pearl Harbor and Hart of Dixie), as Toni Jo Henry, at the centre of a sensational murder trial; Academy Award nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, The Sessions, and Lincoln) as Henry’s partner-in-crime; Jason Lewis (Sex and the City and Mr. Brooks) as her husband; M.C. Gainey (Lost and Con Air) as the jailer; and T. J. Thyne (Bones) as the priest, Father Richard.

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Allison Crowe’s “Tidings” recording of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is heard in the film’s dynamic trailer @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe9yC13crc0

Curtains rising as well on a facebook page for the movie @ http://www.facebook.com/thepardonmovie

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