News  Notes from Alley

2007:  May 10 ~ "Best Songs of All Time" Lists Northern Light Allison Crowe

"As performed by Allison Crowe," the Leonard Cohen-penned, Hallelujah, "may be one of the most amazing things ever recorded onto magnetic tape," says culture blog Semper Ubi Sub Ubi. On its just-published list of "The Best Songs of All Time", Crowe's live, single-take, recording joins ten classic tracks by Johnny Cash ("Hurt"), Bruce Springsteen ("Jungleland"), The Who ("Baba O'Riley") and other legends. SUSU explains:

" 'Hallelujah' by Allison Crowe on Tidings
Quite possibly the single greatest song ever recorded. Undeniably the best female vocal performance ever recorded. This song is best listened to during the winter, near a fireplace, while it's snowing outside. Any room will do, though, so long as it is equipped with good speakers and a light switch."

Female, male, transgendered, take-your-pick, no categorization is broad enough.

Last month, when "A Tribute to Joni Mitchell" CD was released, Bob Muller, curator of cover songs at JoniMitchell.com mused: "I was listening to it this AM whilst eating my bagel & grits and thinking about how nice it would have been to use Allison Crowe's version of 'River' as opposed to the already over-exposed  JT version." Muller's praise for the young Canadian's interpretations of Mitchell's "River" and "A Case of You" is joyous, as is his commentary on her cover of "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", a break-through hit in 1967 for Aretha Franklin: "Allison does and nails it just as good as the Queen of Soul herself. Her piano playing is equally exquisite. Treat yourself to one of the mightiest talents on the singer-songwriter scene today."

And it is as a mighty original writer, as much as for her singular interpretations, that Allison Crowe is being heard internationally.

On the mainstream, but, as yet, still fairly egalitarian, Download.com, (successor site to mp3.com), acts packaged by the "machine", backed by corporate fortunes, mix with indie talent. Iconoclastic and populist, it's fitting that in such an environment Allison Crowe is among the most-listened-to Singer-Songwriters. Only the songs of major label-marketed KT Tunstall have been played more often that those of the independent Crowe. Carole King and Bob Dylan can also be found in the top ten. Crowe's music bridges the appeal of these greats, recognized universally by an earlier generation, with the currency of today's cult-revered singer-songwriters at Download.com: including Cat Power, Jose Gonzalez, & Antony and the Johnsons ~ vehicle for the emotionally resonant voice of Antony Hegarty.

This Little Bird album

(Not coincidentally, reviewing Allison Crowe's newest album upon its release late last year, music blogger Muruch wrote: "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. I think if the music blogiverse has any taste at all, Allison Crowe will be the new artist to be pimped out everywhere.")

Bringing it all back - to where Allison Crowe's territory, from her Atlantic to her Pacific coast home, covers a breadth of more than 6000 km. - the nation's public broadcaster, the CBC, (via The National and Sounds Like Canada programs), is on a search for the Seven Wonders of Canada. While she may be regarded as one herself, the prodigious musician, a British Columbian Newfoundlander, is set to capture her take on the wonder of the Aurora Borealis.

After touring over 100,000 km., giving concerts, and releasing five CDs since 2003, this year, Allison Crowe will record "Northern Lights" and a handful of other songs. Then, it'll be time again to delight North American and European audiences from the concert stage.

 

 

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