Happy (early) 80th Birthday, Leonard Cohen!!

The Real Rick Rutt” ‏@RickRutt  tweets: Sunday, Sept 21, will be Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday + This song has entranced me for decades. Here is #LeonardCohen80’s fellow Canadian Allison Crowe’s 2004 “Jeanne d’Arc

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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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16 Songs – Video Album

We now know the song listing for Allison Crowe’s upcoming 16 Song music video series:

Disease

Why

Circular Reasoning

Creep

There Is

Doughnut Song

Running

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Spiral

Sweet Dreams

Effortless

Josephine

Double-Edged Swords

Running for Home

Alive and Breathing

Throw Your Arms Around Me

Allison Crowe - 16 Song Video Album - cover

This new music video series launches September 9, 2014 (a shift from the September 2 date originally announced).

A magical mystery tour of music with visuals from great artists and innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries – film-makers, animators, painters, photographers and more… – it’s a multi-media expression of the artist’s mission to make “Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music.” ( http://allisoncrowe.com/bio.html )

This 16 song video album pairs Allison’s originals with some singular interpretations – underscoring an observation of Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, delightful chronicler “On Life, Love, Lust, & Leonard Cohen” – “Once you’ve heard one Allison Crowe song, You’ve heard one Allison Crowe song.” ( http://1heckofaguy.com/2009/01/27/wedding-song-allison-crowes-small-masterwork )

It’s a season of cryptic crosswords and other, puzzling, fun. Here, now, are 16 visual clues – screenshots from each of the videos in the series. Some you may recognize, some you may not have seen before…

Imagine which goes with which song in the set-list – this September details will be revealed, and matches will be made.

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“Famous Blue Raincoat” mash-up

Concluding “Heavy Graces”, the audio album, and the music-movie mash-up series that accompanies Allison Crowe’s newest release – is this second version of “Famous Blue Raincoat”.

The song’s composer, Leonard Cohen, says, it reflects on the “tyranny” of possession — of the kind that enslaves us as women and men.
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Impressionistic visuals come from director Josef von Sternberg’s 1930/31 film “The Blue Angel” (“Der blaue Engel“). Experience this classic movie in full @ http://archive.org/details/theblueangel1930

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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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This Little Bird flies free

May you and yours have a high-flying holiday, and joyous times beyond. Rousing our Allison Crowe music video series – (enjoy the growing ‘Chanson et Lumière‘ playlist @ http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzwM8Ztw_8D1zBB_ZjkF9270RyojzYFP5 ) – here’s “This Little Bird“:

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This Little Bird“, from Allison Crowe’s album of the same name, flies here with excerpts from “The Story of the Birds” – created by animation pioneer Max Fleischer in 1935 (as the fourth entry in his “Color Classics” series):

http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/this-little-bird

♫ “Why music?” “Why breathing?

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Tonight Will Be Fine

Combining heart, soul and vision – in words, music and images – Allan Showalter, the much-loved Leonard Cohen+ blogger, presents this video:

http://www.dailymotion.com/videoxcf8ij

Allison Crowe performs Leonard Cohen’s song, “Tonight Will Be Fine“, accompanied by images from the fabulous and free-spirited photog Billie Woods, a painting by Vienna’s boki.b and pics of posters by dedicated German concert promoter “Andreas” – and North American rock poster legend Bob Masse.

And, there be a related DrHGuy blog post as well @ http://drhguy.com/2013/04/03/ten-women-singing-leonard-cohen-songs

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Rock Liebster – 1 Heck of an Award

Capping a week of fresh delights, I woke this a.m., St. Patrick’s Day, to find Allison Crowe’s blog, for which I serve as caretaker, is a recipient of the prestigious Liebster Award.

I learned this by visiting “1 Heck of a Guy” – everybody’s favourite Leonard Cohen-centric blog written by a psychiatrist and “featuring song, dance, snappy chatter plus notes on prose, poesy, love, lust, life, and beyond.”

There, the erudite blogmeister Dr. Heck, aka Allan Showalter, reveals the exceptional roster of blogs upon which the Liebster’s bestowed. He explains the nature of things, especially fitting on this day for pledging fealty to friendliness – with or without a Guinness in hand.

Even the name of the award brings forth cheer, musically echoing, as it does, this German-language performance by the Fab Four – Sie Liebt Dich:

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together with this also fabulous recording by T. Rex – Jeepster:

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(One of today’s bands, The Black Keys, say, seems a natural to update Marc Bolan’s lyrics for the digital age: “Girl, I’m just a Liebster for your blog”.)

In handing out a Liebster to Allison Crowe’s blog, the always entertaining, (and, to some, mysterious), Dr. Heck, says:

“Allison Crowe’s official site not only offers information, videos, and music about the next Canadian singer-songwriter but not infrequently issues a shout-out to other artists that have left an impression on Ms Crowe, including Leonard Cohen. In any case, Adrian du Plessis, who serves both as Allison’s personable manager and webmaster of the site writes prose that is entertaining, informed, and, on occasion, not unlike pirate lingo.”

Allison and I have savoured drinking in the history and import of this charming recognition. Thank you, danke, merci, grazie, and more, Dr. Showalter!!

In the spirit in which it’s delivered, and, further, to fulfill the duties and obligations of accepting a Liebster Blog Award, over the coming days, we shall choose other blogs to so honour in kind.

Stay tuned…

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