News  Notes from Alley


Tuesday, January 20 ~ Hallelujah: Allison Crowe joins in the fun with Cohen Cover and Jewel's Auction



As this new year launches on a range of calendars, Canada's Allison Crowe finds herself one of the most popular performers in the world of what is one of the world's most popular songs.

It's a good start.

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", with a final push from the giant 'Pop Idol' franchise, has been delivered into a maelstrom that swirls together the song's mainstream resonance with its cabaret and cult appeal. No longer a secret, it's struck a global chord.

Crowe, who recorded "Hallelujah" in a single-first-take late in 2003, for release on her Tidings CD, is, both, witness and contributor to this phenomenon. A truly independent artist who's steered clear of the
corporate marketing machine, Allison Crowe's been able to reach audiences by continual touring, and, in this digital age, through forums online that, as yet, remove the barriers for artist and audience to connect.

On YouTube, Rufus Wainright, whose Shrek-soundtrack recording, (alongside John Cale's version in the movie itself), launched "Hallelujah" well into the mainstream, trades-off the most-viewed cover
spot with the late, iconic, Jeff Buckley. Also with over eight million views, and third in popularity, is the Norwegian quartet known "The New Guitar Buddies" - Askil Holm, Espen Lind, Alejandro Fuentes, and "World Idol" Kurt Nilsen.

The "Idol" television franchise, a vehicle for SonyBMG acts and licensed songs, has, for years, included Cohen's "Hallelujah" in its songbook. Swelling acceptance of the song on the show reached full-blown top-of-the-pops status recently, with the latest "X Factor" winner, Alexandra Burke, landing the UK's Christmas #1 single with her version. Burke's "Hallelujah" holds fourth spot, with 3.25 million views.

Allison Crowe's video version, made for under $100.00, marches fifth on YouTube, with an audience now nearing three million people.

Crowe's performance of Hallelujah is followed by: Amanda Jenssen, (the Swedish "Idol" runner-up has 2.6 million viewers); America's Kate Voegele (and an audience of 2.3 million), John Cale (who selected the Cohen lyrics most often used by performers, attracts 1.8 million); Jason Castro (an "American Idol" contestant, has his devotees numbering 1.4 million); and Diana Vickers, (a contestant on the UK's "X Factor") rounds out the top ten "Hallelujah"s with 1.28 million folks tuning her in via YouTube. A pair of well-known music industry veterans, kd lang and Sheryl Crow, each top one million viewers to follow closely behind ingénue Vickers.

Leonard Cohen, the original, whose 1980s German television version has 6.4 million views, has rarely sounded better performing "Hallelujah" than in 2008 - and, this newest version from the song's creator is anticipated on DVD this Spring.

On a different stage, but, also fun and bringing together an array of musicians this season is the inaugural 'Lyrics for Life' auction organized by multi-platinum recording artist Jewel to raise funds for
Project Clean Water. Jewel's handwritten and signed lyrics for her huge hit song "You Were Meant for Me" drew a top bid of US $1,505.00 and dozens more lyric items from some of Nashville's finest, alongside some well-known folks from pop and rock music, helped fill the well.

Allison Crowe's delighted she could contribute with lyrics to her song, "Silence" which sold at auction for US $205.00. Others helping raise the banner for better water include: Katy Perry, whose "I Kissed A Girl" lyrics - written on an Obama O's cereal box - brought in $175.00; Pussycat Dolls "I Don't Need a Man" ($155.00); heartland-rocker John Mellencamp's "Longest Days" ($425.00); new country's Carrie Underwood's "So Small" ($795.00); Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" ($120.00); Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" ($400.00); Josh Groban's "Remember When It Rained" ($100.00); and, fellow Canadian, David Foster's handwritten and signed music for "St. Elmo's Fire" ($60.00).

Collectively, over US $10,000 was raised for the cause in this unique way.

And the year's just begun.






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