Allison Crowe in Be-CREATIVE: Found in Translation

Italy’s Be-CREATIVE has Allison on its cover this month – http://be-creative.lifestylecommunity.it/3 – and, now, the feature is translated for us all by the fine Italian hand of Rhonda C.

Allison Crowe: La Sua Voce Ha Stregato Anche L’uomo D’acciaio,” says the publication’s cover – “Allison Crowe: her voice has bewitched even the Man of Steel” – and, here’s the rest of the story:

Allison Crowe, originally from Nanaimo, (November 16, 1981), is a Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist. She records for her own label, Rubenesque Records Ltd.  Her first albums, Secrets and Tidings, were published in 2004, while the double album Live at Wood Hall, recorded live on tour, was published in July, 2005.  She also produced a DVD containing live in-the-studio performances made during the recording of Tidings, in November 2005.

Of Irish, Scottish and Manx descent, Allison grew up listening to jazz, classical, and rock, and under the influences of musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, and Counting Crows.

Her music is the result of the union of all these genres, and the uniqueness of her voice has such force that it has been compared to that of Mahalia Jackson.  She usually accompanies herself with the piano.

Her percussive style, characterized by a great physicality, was often associated with the pioneers of R&B and rock and roll like Fats Domino. She perform as a soloist, and has also been a part of musical bands, specifically a trio known as the Allison Crowe Band (2000-2003).

One of her songs, Whether I’m Wrong, composed in early 2003, was selected for the initiative endorsed by UNESCO, New Songs for Peace.  However, she is also very popular for her interpretations of songs by other authors, from Jerome Kern and Pearl Jam, through to John Lennon, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Her interpretation of the song Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) was named Record of the Week by Record of the Day (UK) in August 2004, and again in November, 2005.  Towards the end of 2005, she held a series of concerts in Europe, with stops in Dublin, London, Monaco, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Paris.  In the spring of 2006, Allison Crowe made a coast-to-coast tour of her own country, making most of the journey by VIA Rail Canada Company.

In October 2006, she released her new album, This Little Bird, and subsequently held a series of concerts that have touched England, Ireland, and Scotland. On March 17, 2010, she released the album “Spiral“.  Recently, she has also performed in Italy, specifically in 2010, and 2012, at the Teatro del Sale in Florence. In 2013, she appeared in a cameo role in the film “Man of Steel” directed by Zack Snyder and released in Italian cinemas on June 20.

Q: Hi Allison, how are you?  Singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist: with which of these roles do you identify most?

A: I’m doing great, thanks! I don’t know if there is one thing that I do that expresses myself the best – I’d have to say it’s likely a combo of all of these things! I’m always wanting to learn new ways to express myself and explore new things, and they sort of all work together in that way.

Q: In addition to having made several albums, you also really love the connection with the audience, and the thing that is more amazing is that your voice is as beautiful, and vibrant live as on CD.  How important is it for you the relationship with your fans?

A: I think my favourite part of what I do is the live performance and getting to interact with a live audience, and see and hear how they respond. My relationship with my audience is incredibly important to me, as the energy I get from people is energy I put in to doing what I do.

Q: Where do you prefer to perform: in large concert halls, or in a more intimate environment, perhaps with fewer people?

A: All of the different types of venues all have great features! A smaller, cozier show is nice because everyone is up close and it’s such a nice feeling, whereas a larger seated theatre show is maybe more dramatic and theatrical – due to the various circumstances that come with that. (lighting, seating, etc.) – and outdoor shows are big, fun and lively events with lots of energy. They are pretty much all good, in their different ways!

Q: From where does the  inspiration for your albums come?

A: I get inspiration for writing from different places for each album – a lot of it has come from my past relationships with people or the world around me. This new album (Heavy Graces) is more to do with my relationship with myself, than anything else, and how I go about dealing with and viewing that, from both in and outside of myself.

Q: Your slogan is “Why music?  Why breathing?”. With this phrase it is as if you want to say that music is life, energy for your soul. True?

A: It is! I find if I go too long without music, in one way or another, I feel like something is missing – especially live performance. It’s just who I am

Q: You recently loaned your song “Snow” for a dance performance – Ellipses Dance Company’s debut on video of a work entitled “The Writer”.  How has this experience left you?

A: It’s very cool to see a song I’ve written be used for dance – I love dance (and I wish I could dance like that!). I love seeing someone’s interpretation of what I’ve written through movement, and they’ve done such a wonderful job!

Q: You recently participated in the film “Man of Steel” about the origins of Superman. How’s it to play “yourself”, a singer, in such an important movie?

A: It was such a cool experience being in Man of Steel – just to see how everything works, and what everyone else does in making a movie, and how good they are at what they do! For me, playing a singer in a bar definitely wasn’t a stretch, and is something I’ve done for a very long time, so it felt pretty natural.

Q: Plans for the future?  Maybe a visit to Italy for your concerts?

A: My new album, Heavy Graces, was released on October 15, and I will be in Europe for a tour in 2014, in the Spring, and hopefully in Italy soon.

Nota Bene: Allison Crowe anticipates at least two European tour visits in 2014

To the Be-CREATIVE collaborators we say grazie!! Buon Natale – to all! :)

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“Better Man”, “Control”, + “Dissolve”

“It seems our favorite independent singer-songwriter is more determined than ever to forge her own path. I predict we’ll be seeing Allison Crowe not once but twice on our best of the year list,” says music blogger Muruch in a review of Allison’s new album, “Heavy Graces”, (and referencing “Newfoundland Vinyl”, her LP/album out earlier this year): http://www.muruch.com/2013/10/allison-crowe-heavy-graces.html

Heavy Graces includes new songs from the pen and soul of Allison Crowe, alongside the Canadian artist’s interpretations of tunes composed by Leonard Cohen and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
It’s accompanied by a series of music-movie mash-ups.
Here she covers a favourite by Eddie Vedder – first performed by EV with the band Bad Radio – and, then, naturally, with Pearl Jam.

Allison Crowe identifies “Vitalogy“, PJ’s 1994 album, as one of the central music influences during her formative teen years. She tells music blogger, Stephen Thomas (co-founder of the UK’s Folkroom Records):

“And, of course, I have ALWAYS dreamed in colour and loved Better Man.”

“Singing along to ‘Better Man’ with an entire Vancouver concert audience the first time I ever managed to experience Pearl Jam live… is something I will never forget. We were freaking GOOD singers! I can’t wait to experience that again.”

With her own, roots rock, version of the song, Crowe brings past and present together musically. Visually, as well, time is elastic and themes impressionistic.

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The music is joined by an excerpt from the silent film classic “Broken Blossoms” – directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish as Lucy Burrows, Donald Crisp as Battling Burrows, (her abusive father), and Richard Barthelmess as Cheng Huan (who befriends and nurses Lucy).

The original songs from Allison Crowe’s new album are visually paired with scenes from the classic Buster Keaton silent film, “The General” – several videos of which we’ve posted already – combining humor and pathos.

Now, here’s “Control“:

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and, “Dissolve“:

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Allison Crowe’s Timeless Voice Lifts “Heavy Graces”

Heavy Graces” is out now.

It’s musician Allison Crowe’s second album of new recordings in 2013 – the releases book-ending Crowe’s cameo appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster, “Man of Steel”, and her curating and music-directing TNL’s stage production of “Newfoundland Vinyl”, an hit show at this Summer’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival.

On this latest collection the Canadian artist is writing, singing, playing piano, guitar, doing percussion, engineering, production, album art, and photography. And she’s picked up her Great-Grandfather’s fiddle and includes it on several tracks – adding shades of Scarlet Rivera, had the Rolling Thunder Revue sought shelter from the storm in Corner Brook, NL.

“It seems our favorite independent singer-songwriter is more determined than ever to forge her own path. I predict we’ll be seeing Allison Crowe not once but twice on our best of the year list,” says music blog Muruch @ http://www.muruch.com/2013/10/allison-crowe-heavy-graces.html

Muruch’s review of “Heavy Graces” references, as well, “Newfoundland Vinyl”, Allison Crowe’s LP of popular and traditional songs of the island region where she’s home on the Atlantic. It’s an album which has listeners recalling Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Ryan’s Fancy, Anais Mitchell, and the McGarrigle sisters, Kate and Anna.

All told, Crowe’s released three albums so far this year: “Songbook”- an oeuvre-spanning 22-song compilation – the music of which, naturally, draws more diverse praise including comparisons with Solomon Burke, Joni Mitchell, and Modest Mussorgsky – all the while Crowe’s passionate singularity is recognized and enjoyed by critics and fans alike.

Heavy Graces“, features new songs from the pen and soul of Allison Crowe, alongside her interpretations of tunes composed by Leonard Cohen (“Famous Blue Raincoat” – in two versions) and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder (“Better Man”).

Allison Crowe delights in working with today’s film directors – this year, Tom Anton on “The Pardon”, and Zack Snyder for the Superman reboot, “Man of Steel” – and their amazing production teams.

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Via today’s digital archives, there’s now opportunity for artistry and fun to combine music and movies in timeless fashion. The songs of “Heavy Graces” are accompanied visually, in video form, by a series of excerpts from silent-era, and other classic b/w, films from directors D.W. Griffith, Josef von Sternberg, Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman.

(Album @ http://www.music.allisoncrowe.com/album/heavy-graces and via iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and all major music services online.)


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“Through These Heavy Graces” mash-up

Through These Heavy Graces” opens the newest album of music from Allison Crowe.

Original songs in this collection from the Canadian artist are accompanied visually by a series of experts from the classic silent film, “The General” – a celebration of Buster Keaton’s genius.

Allison Crowe enjoys working with today’s film directors – this year, Tom Anton on “The Pardon”, and Zack Snyder for “Man of Steel” – and their amazing production teams.

Via online videos, there’s now opportunity for artistry and fun to combine music and movies from an earlier era.

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Heavy Graces”, an album which includes new songs from the pen and soul of Allison Crowe, alongside her interpretations of tunes composed by Leonard Cohen and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, is released October 15, 2013 (and will be available everywhere – via Bandcamp, iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon +).

Happy Thanksgiving – from Canada!!

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Famous Blue Raincoat (choral) – Allison Crowe (Heavy Graces)

Famous Blue Raincoat“, its composer, Leonard Cohen, says, reflects on the “tyranny” of possession — of the kind that enslaves us as women and men.

It’s territory covered here by musician Allison Crowe. (Crowe’s previously celebrated the Cohen songbook via renowned interpretations of “Hallelujah“, “Joan of Arc” and other tunes from the master songsmith.)
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Impressionistic visual accompaniment comes via film scenes from “The Blue Angel” (“Der blaue Engel” first released in Europe in 1930 saw its full North American release the following year.)

This choral rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic is the first of two versions recorded by Allison Crowe for her album “Heavy Graces“.

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Heavy Graces – Track Listing + Release Date

Heavy Graces“, Allison Crowe’s newest music is released October 15, 2013.

Here’s the track listing:

1. Through These Heavy Graces (Allison Crowe)
2. Famous Blue Raincoat (choral)  (Leonard Cohen)
3. You All Haunt Me (Allison Crowe)
4. Words (Allison Crowe)
5. Better Man (Eddie Vedder)
6. Control (Allison Crowe)
7. Dissolve (Allison Crowe)
8. Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)

Music, videos and more are rolling our way :)

Image: still from Buster Keaton’s “The General

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Through These Heavy Graces

Through These Heavy Graces” is a new song set from Allison Crowe – a recording to be released very soon. Here’s the cover art. Allison’s created plenty over the years, and with this collection she’s writing, singing, playing piano, guitar, doing percussion, engineering and production, album art, photography – and, for the first-time ever, adding fiddle to her palette!
Through These Heavy Graces - Allison Crowe - music set 2013
Maintaining a musical tradition that’s as much fun for the artist as it is for audience, alongside a batch of new original songs, Allison delivers interpretations of songs by her personal favourites – this time out, tunes from Leonard Cohen and Pearl Jam are in the mix.
Allison Crowe photo/artwork

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Delay – Musical Decade Shines Still Brighter

“Once you’ve heard one Allison Crowe song, You’ve heard one Allison Crowe song,” says Allan Showalter, the erudite mystery-man behind the enriching and entertaining Leonard Cohen-centric blog, 1 Heck of a Guy.

With the good doctor’s observation in mind – here’s another one from Allison:

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This, a diamond mined 10+ years ago – and the musical equivalent to kimberlite pipes are richer than ever. The fuller origin story can be found on the YouTube page hosting “Delay“.

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silence (82 seconds of) + Throw Your Arms Around Me v2

BBC Radio’s ‘Desert Island Discs‘ speaks with Maurice Hopper, of Exeter, UK. As a peace observer, he carried eight pieces of music to the Middle East. Transferring music from CD to computer some spaces in between got lost. “It emphasized the huge importance of silence in musical performances,” he says. This track is a “silence” break before encore, “producer’s cut”, versions on “Spiral“.

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On this, a second version of the Hunters & Collectors’ anthem Throw Your Arms Around Me on Allison Crowe’s “Spiral” album, producer Kayla Schmah’s mix enriches the encore – bringing Allison’s vocals to the fore – after they’d been immersed in the pub-style-group-sing-along that wraps the first. Building up to one more, final, gorgeous, song production…

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Allison Crowe lands on MarsBands

The universal appeal of Allison Crowe now includes Mars – the founder of MarsBands.com – which launches its web station today with this entertaining interview. On this well-read planet it’s reigning cats and dog. ack! ack!

More exploration of MarsBands turns up this fun profile – which describes Allison Crowe as “the best thing to come out of Canada since hockey.” High praise, indeed :)

Allison Crowe - Vienna - photo by Billie Woods

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