News  Notes from Alley


April 24 - Hands Across the Water


Spiral, Allison Crowe's newest album of music is starting to reach the world.


<a href="">Dearly by Allison Crowe</a>

As Spiraling joy ensues, it's an especially fun time to reflect on how we got here, and what it all means.

Drawing from the well-spring, this week a pair of UK web-based features:

Straight-outta-Nottingham, soon-to-be-in-London-town, Swiftian culture-blogger and novel-writer, Stephen Thomas invites Allison to guest-post for the next six weeks.

We Write Lists Presents: Six Albums with Allison Crowe

Thomas explains to his audience:

"Over the past four years or so I have spoken a great deal of Allison Crowe, whether it be on blogs, to friends, to family members or anyone else stupid enough to tune into my opinions. So, in many ways, the posts that will appear every Saturday for the next six weeks are a real coup here at WWL. A few months back I was fortunate enough to have Franz Nicolay, formerly of The Hold Steady, to write up a guest post on his favourite six albums. Recently I asked the same of Allison Crowe and she kindly obliged. Now, as the result either of her (obvious) passion for music or her recently freed-up schedule (Thanks, Eyjafjallaj÷jull!) Allison has written us enough of her insightful takes on the music that inspired her to secure a spot as a regular contributor for the next six weeks, during which we'll share her written offerings one album at a time! So, over to Allison:"

Link to We Write Lists Presents- Six Albums with Allison Crowe

Allison, whose musical roots first planted in classical and jazz, took the challenge. For the next six weeks, she talks about those albums that formed the soundtrack to a pivotal period in her life ~ when, she says, "my personality and life’s choices were truly being forged and molded - beyond childhood but not yet adult - with plenty of na´vety and an equal amount of life experience."

Tune in to this We Write Lists serial special. (Not to be confused with a special cereal - that would be something like Cap'n Crunch - with decoder ring in the box. Though, these things may not be so far apart...)

From Inverness, the Scottish Highlands, and now back home in Edinburgh is musician, photo-journalist and more, Shona McMillan.

Editing together old cine films shot by her family in the 1960s, McMillan has created this lovely, evocative reflection and meditation:

For the soundtrack to her "Home Reflections", Shona has chosen Allison's recording of, too-soon-gone-from-this-world, singer-songwriter Phil Ochs' "When I'm Gone".

On her YouTube channel, she recounts the film's story, and notes:

"In 2007, I met the singer of the song - Allison Crowe when we both performed in Durness at the John Lennon festival. Later, when she did another gig in Edinburgh, Allison sang this song and absolutely blew me away with her performance and the intensity of the lyrics. Having just lost my mum to cancer, less than 12 months before, I said to Allison that her singing had captured for me the incredible need I felt to do things 'NOW'. She gave me her CD as a gift "Allison Crowe Little Light" and amongst the many other beautiful songs on it - this remains for me the most special. A song which has often helped to motivate me in my uphill personal challenge to produce my own People and Songs of the Sea multi-media heritage project (recording fisher folk from Edinburgh to Eyemouth in thousands of photos, audio and most recently film). The lyrics of the song here - they so greatly inspire me and yes they can be sad but also, they encourage true reflection and appreciation of the value of time. All of us have just 24hrs in each day, it can seem a lot at the time but, when we look back on a life lived and now gone - we see how very precious time was and is. We see that a Life is made up, shaped and built by all the little choices we make over the hours, days, weeks and years that we live. The ways in which we choose to spend our time are surely the most important, on-going decisions we make throughout the days of our lives."

Shona McMillan wraps up: "How very precious time is. Indeed, I recall my mum's favourite saying which was the philosophy by which she tried to live her life:

'I pass this way but once, any good that I can do - Let Me - for I may not pass this way again'."


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