News  Notes from Alley

2006:  December ~ Music for the Season and All Time

One of our truest musical talents and most exciting live performers, Allison Crowe, continues touring this month - delivering songs from her all-season 'holiday' album, Tidings, alongside the sounds of a newly-released collection, This Little Bird.

"A pleasing blend of jazz, soul and blues, This Little Bird personifies what real Canadian music is about," says Kailee Jordan in YouThink magazine. "You can actually feel the passion fueling Crowe's emotional, poetic lyrics." South of the border, blogger Muruch chimes in: "I can honestly and without hesitation say that This Little Bird is my favourite album of 2006. I haven't wanted to immerse myself in an album so intensely since I first heard Antony & The Johnsons. if the music blogiverse has any taste at all, Allison Crowe will be the new artist to be pimped out everywhere."

"Treat yourself to one of the mightiest talents on the singer-songwriter scene today," says Bob Muller, veteran administrator of cover songs on the Joni Mitchell Discussion List. Allison Crowe's just-hatched album, This Little Bird, contains her take on Joni's "A Case of You". (About which, Sweden's Anna Maria Stjärnell writes: "Crowe gets to the heart of the mystical, intoxicating song. 'You're In My Blood Like Holy Wine' has rarely been a line better delivered.")

Muller, in reviewing the new album, says: "Allison really comes into her own on this CD - her wonderful songs, supported by her emotive vocals, strong and confident, navigates them with feeling and strength. I mean, it takes a lot of self-confidence to tackle Aretha's version of 'I Never Loved a Man...' but Allison does and nails it just as good as the Queen of Soul herself. Her piano playing is equally exquisite."

Back north in Canada the dean of Vancouver music writers, Tom Harrison, says: "(Allison Crowe) shows an eclecticism that also reinforces her own songs. The best moments have atmosphere and her moodiness is truly affecting." Across the Atlantic, Luna Kafé writer Stjärnell sums up: "Crowe's focused and her art's never been better. This little bird is airborne."

Allison Crowe is flying high, as well, with her "Tidings" benefit concerts - lending a hand to community groups, and, onstage, bringing together traditional carols such as "In the Bleak Midwinter", "What Child Is This", and "Silent Night", with songs of joy, peace, and redemption from the modern songbook. Crowe's well-loved and lauded versions of songs by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Sarah McLachlan join covers of Joni Mitchell's "River" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" labeled "truly transcendent".

In 2003, "Tidings" was created as an one-hour television special ~ and this production still airs each December across Canada on CHUM's A-Channel network and affiliates. In its holiday CD round-up, in 2004, The Toronto Sun gave four stars to only two releases - The Christmas Collection from Frank Sinatra and Tidings from Allison Crowe. In a 2005 poll, BBC Radio listeners placed Tidings among the greatest cover albums of all time.

Upon its original, full-length, release, Joseph Blake of The Times Colonist newspaper declared: "This high concept seasonal sampler is a triumph." Completing a circle of inspiration, this year has seen the concept mainstreamed by Nettwerk Records of Vancouver, B.C. with the release of Sarah McLachlan's 'Wintersong" CD.

Tidings is a celebration in song manifest through Allison Crowe's voice and hands. Hers is a passionate and joyous sound described by one print journalist as "Elton John meets Edith Piaf". Crowe's band on the Tidings bill features a pair of top-flight rhythm-makers also heard on This Little Bird: Dave Baird on acoustic and electric bass, and Laurent Boucher on percussion. B.C. appearances and concert dates are listed below.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all. Joy to the world ( :

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Allison Crowe's 2006 Tidings performances:

01/12/06 - ArtSpring Theatre, Salt Spring Island ~ w. special guest
Billie Woods to benefit the Salt Spring SPCA

02/12/06 - United Church, Campbell River ~ w. special guest Billie Woods
to benefit the Campbell River Food Bank

06/12/06 - CFUN 1410 AM Studio, Vancouver ~ on-air with popular radio
show hosts Jenn Thomson and Joe Leary - promoting the Hope Fertility
Fund (a partner project of the UBC Centre for Reproductive Health and
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation)

08/12/06 - CBC Radio One, Hudson's Bay Centre, Victoria ~ Canada's
national public broadcaster presents its 20th Anniversary Food Bank Day
Fundraiser & Broadcast "In the Midst of Plenty"

08/12/06 - Metro Studio Theatre, Victoria ~ w. special guest Lena
Birtwistle to aid Artemis Place (an alternative schooling program for
girls)

09/12/06 - Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver ~ w. special guest Lena
Birtwistle to benefit the Hope Fertility Fund

15/12/06 - St. Andrew's United Church, Nanaimo ~ w. musical guests:
Deanna Pulak, Laura Ashley Brunet, Brynn Newman, Briana Vojnovich,
Christie Ross, Lauren Bissonnette, Chelsea Peckett, Matt Meredith, Adam
Cormier, Sarah Parenteau, & Marty Hilchey in support of The Mind's Eye (NYSA youth newspaper), Woodlands SS Band and Basketball programs, Project Warmth & the Nanaimo Women's Centre

16/12/06 - St. Andrew's United Church, Nanaimo ~ w. special guests:
Samantha Cashmore, Jennifer Moffett, Sara Anderson, Crystal Cashmore,
Chelsea Peckett, Matt Meredith, Adam Cormier, Sarah Parenteau, & Marty
Hilchey in support of The Mind's Eye (NYSA youth newspaper), Woodlands
SS Band and Basketball programs, Project Warmth & the Nanaimo Women's
Centre

 

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