January 31 ~ Double-Bill: In Honour of Ani
Today, as pioneering musician Janis Ian is joined in
a march forward by such high profile recording acts as Radiohead and
Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Ani DiFranco's DIY beacon
Asked, "Why music?", Allison Crowe responds: "Why breathing?"
Just as naturally, the Canadian musician embraces DiFranco's truth: "If you are disgustingly sincere and terribly diligent, there are ways for any serious artist to operate outside the corporate structure."
Which makes it really about the music. Best-known for her piano music, one of the first guitar songs Allison Crowe performed on-stage was the Ani DiFranco song "Both Hands". Fortunately, Nanaimo, B.C.'s Scott Littlejohn was on hand to record this moment live (in 2004).
"The one person who really knows me best says I'm like a cat..." ~ 'Virtue', Ani DiFranco
+ 32 Flavors
Ani DiFranco ~ "songwriter, musicmaker, storyteller,
In 1989/90, years before digital/online technology helped light up the terrain, Buffalo-based DiFranco was showing us how DIY is done. In creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records, and charting a path that includes loyalty and integrity as touchstones, "the little folksinger that could" - did!
"I don't think the music industry is conducive to artistic and social change and growth. It does a lot to exploit and homogenize art and artists. In order to challenge the corporate music industry, I feel it necessary to remain outside it. I could be selling a lot more albums. Life could be a lot more cushy. But it's much more interesting to try and hammer out an alternative route without the music industry and maybe be an example for other musicians. You don't have to play ball," notes Ani DiFranco.
Major inspiration to Allison Crowe, who created her own label, Rubenesque Records Ltd., (about to release a seventh CD/album since 2003), the music of Ani DiFranco is a cherished feature of Crowe's live performances.
Heres Ani's song "32 Flavors" performed by Allison (vocals, piano) and Dave Baird (bass), and Kevin Clevette (drums) live at Lucky Bar, Victoria, Canada in 2001. One of the earliest live recordings of Crowe, it's first captured by Condor, and later engineered by Welsh audio-tech David Powell.
The image of Allison Crowe is by the ever fabulous photog Billie Woods.
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