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Deep, Dark Giggles
Alleyís got a six-pack of punchy new songs.
Lynne Patterson, Monday Magazine
October 11, 2001

Allison Crowe 2 p.m. Saturday, October 13. Lyleís Place. Free 7:30 p.m. Wood Recital Hall $12/$10. 384-SHOW Between Allison Croweís giggles, you can still hear a hint of the deep, dark voice that graces her new CD, Six Songs. Sheís less nervous than her manager said sheíd be, but itís still refreshing to hear a nervous laugh from someone hailed as the next big up-and-coming singer-songwriter.

Alley, as "almost everyone" calls her, is basking in the glow of last weekís show at the launch party of the New VI in Nanaimo, where she headlined with jazz sensation Diana Krall. With that nerve-wracking event under her belt, hitting the stage at the Victoria Conservatory of Music this Saturday should be a piece of cake.

"Iím usually nervous before, but once Iím on stage Iím okay," says Crowe. "Depending on the lighting. If itís really bright you canít see the audience at all and itís really easy. Itís the TV element that makes it hard."

Her new CD has only six songs (hence the name), because it was meant to be a pre-demo recording. Her trio recorded it at Bif Nakedís White Rock studio, and Crowe used it to apply for a grant to pay for studio space so she could make a real demo for record companies. In the end, they decided to release it as its own entity.

Croweís music, accompanied by Dave Baird on acoustic and electric bass and Kevin Clevette on drums, is decidedly deep and melodic. Crowe writes the songs but says arranging them is a team effort.

Itís hard to believe this 19-year-old has enough angst to write about, but she assures me she does. "Iíve been through enough stuff in my short life," says Crowe, giving a stark example: when she was 15, she lost 90 pounds.

"I was made fun of a lot," she says. "When I lost the weight I saw how people looked at me differently." She wrote about that difference of perception in her song "Disease."

In her other lyrics, Crowe touches on relationships, confusion and fear. The first track, "Fade Away," is a song about missing her grandmother, who passed away recently.

"My music is sort of dark," she says lightheartedly, obviously used to hearing that description. "But I donít want to just say that. Itís sort of laid-back, too."

A huge fan of musicians Tori Amos and Ani Difranco, sheís been known to mix her songs in with other favourites as well. The last track, her own song, "Philosophy," flows nicely into a cover of Pearl Jamís "Jeremy."

"Iíve always been a bit weird," says Crowe with another deep giggle. "But whatís really weird is to be compared to Sarah McLachlan . . . But all right, if they say so."

She says she tries not to think about the possibility of McLachlan-style fame and fortune, because it freaks her out a bit. "I just do it," says Crowe. "I just play and hope that it does go somewhere someday."