News  Notes from Alley

Friday, May 9 ~ Arm-Chewing, Piano-Shredding Inspiration, Allison Crowe's "Little Light" Shines in Paris, "The City of Light"

Little Light album cover - Billie Woods photo

Our world's deepening love affair with Allison Crowe takes a Gallic turn tonight as the Canadian singer-songwriter embraces the Fazioli piano and her audience inside Paris' L'Archipel theatre. From 'La Ville-lumière', Crowe tours to Prague, Frankfurt, and Vienna - celebrating the release of her sixth album, "Little Light".

"Quelle voix magnifique,tout l'album est merveilleux, c'est un enchantement," says a reviewer on Jamendo, the pioneering Creative Commons music platform. Adds another, "Quelle douceur une voix venu d'un autre monde..."

"I would chew my arm off to sing like Allison," says West Virginia, Mountain Stage-loving music blogger Muruch. "Though I guess that would make it difficult to shred a piano like she does, which seems to be half the fun" - referencing, respectively, "Hold Back" ~ and "the
fervent, mesmeric, piano-hammering extended version of 'Disease' " ~ both songs on Crowe's newest CD.

"She is reminiscent of some of the great women vocalists who shaped rock music in the late '60s and early '70s. Allison's emotional delivery is unique in today's music," is how music industry veteran, and manager to Bif Naked, Peter Karroll's earlier framed it.

A majestic voice and talent such as graced the stages of rock's golden era, with advancing recorded and live performances Allison Crowe's singularity is increasingly manifest. As a singer, songwriter, interpreter and entertainer she combines elements of artistry in ways distinct in generations of popular music.

"Ever wonder what it would have been like to listen to a gifted singer/songwriter from Saskatchewan in a small, intimate hall before she became Joni Mitchell? Don't fret. There's no need to turn back the clock. Check out Allison Crowe," advises The Record's Robert Reid.

"I believe that Allison Crowe is the only living person - with the possible exception of Glen Hansard - that can pour their whole being into any cover and make it sound like an entirely new song," notes Muruch.

Alongside her art, Allison Crowe's direction in dealing with the business of music is to, also, take the path less travelled. She cites Righteous Babe Ani DiFranco and Quinlan Road's Loreena McKennitt as inspirations in the 2003 launch of her own record label, Rubenesque
Records Ltd
. Considering Crowe's verdant grassroots success, journalist Jennifer Carswell asks in a current Paris Voice feature: "Is she out to change the face of independent contemporary music, infusing it with new meaning...?"

Her mission is purely musical. Still, anything remains possible for a creator recently described by Ross Hocker, longtime public broadcaster with WGTE/NPR, as "not in the least corrupted."

Word on Allison Crowe's upcoming European and North American concert dates is forthcoming.

Here, now, be description of the new album, "Little Light":

Created from Newfoundland to British Columbia, the newest singer-songwriter collection from Allison Crowe opens with a rustically shimmering version of "Northern Lights" - a song Allison performed 'specially for the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival in Durness, Scotland. "Angels" is recorded live by Scott Littlejohn at St. Andrew's United Church, Christmas-time, in Allison's birthplace, Nanaimo, Canada. She's backed here by bassist Dave Baird and percussionist Laurent Boucher. "Disease", a song of social commentary, has, through years of live performance, become epic -  channeling Beethoven, grunge and more. Here 't'is captured in its raging glory by Larry Anschell (on International Women's Day 2008, the same night celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Anschell's Turtle Recording Studios. Larry "Turtle" Anschell, Engineer and Producer, with Brad Graham Co-Engineer). Title track "Little Light" is among a set of guitar songs that reveal a different sort of Allison Crowe's writerly reflections in music. "Happy People", like such earlier songs as Crowe's own, "Skeletons and Spirits", seduces with a bright melody coating more acid observations. Strong and gentle poetics of "Hold Back" warm us by a fire kindled in the '70s by Joni Mitchell. "Choose to Be" bridges the piano sound of Allison's "This Little Bird" songs with her new tunes. Bob Dylan's ramblin' shoes lead to a less restless farewell, as the album closes with "Wedding Song" - Crowe's sweetest, rootsiest, love song to date.

The interpretations on this collection are: "Time After Time" - originally a hit for that most unusual girl, Cyndi Lauper - Allison, a child of the '80s gives her impassioned take, live (Bastion City Mobile's Scott LittleJohn recording this, the same night as "Angels"); "Running for Home", is a cover of the Matthew Good Band, and one of the songs Allison has performed since her teens; and, by way of the Righteous Babe, Ani DiFranco, comes Allison's vocal-guitar nod to the great peace-loving bard, Phil Ochs - "When I'm Gone". "Can't be singing louder than the guns when I'm gone, so I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here."



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