March 16 in Whistler.
Steven Hill, Whistler Question
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Don't beat yourself up if you haven't yet heard of Allison Crowe.
The 20-year-old singer/songwriter from Nanaimo doesn't have an album, so she gets no radio play. However, critics around the country are calling her the "next big thing."
In fact, just reading what other critics have to say about Crowe's voice, lyrics and sheer emotional power will pique your curiosity enough to make you want to see her perform on Saturday (March 16) as the headliner for the Pontiac GMC Cup Canadian Championships, or later that same night at the Crab Shack.
"Janis Joplin's ballsy power and Sarah McLachlan's lilting sweetness," wrote National Post reporter Mark Hume.
"..the pint-sized singer with the 10-gallon voice," reported Vancouver Sun writer Malcolm Parry.
"The buzz is all around Nanaimo's Allison Crowe... a Fiona Apple-esque pianist-singer of the poetic and haunting vocals variety," said Kerry Gold, music writer for the Vancouver Sun's Queue.
Crowe just laughs disarmingly at the mention of the praise she has received.
"I'm pretty surprised," she said, humbly.
"It's always, like, wow, they think that? Really? That's nice."
Since winning Vancouver Island's Songbird Talent competition in 1998, Crowe's star has risen. Her shows around the Northwest have regularly sold out club, theatre and concert performances.
Those powerful live performances have spurred a huge demand for a full-length CD.
Crowe and her trio have already recorded a six-song demo, aptly called "Six Songs'" but they are currently in the studio recording the full CD, tentatively titled "Midnight Syren," a reference to Crowe's on-line persona.
"You know when you are signing in to something, and it won't take any of the names you give, because someone else has already taken it?" she asks.
"I just came up with Midnight Syren after a while."
"Yeah, I'm a bit of a geek," she admitted. "I make my own web page and am constantly on the computer."
The classically trained vocalist said the studio sessi ons are going well so far, but there is still a lot of work to be done before the finished CD makes it to a retailer near you.
"It's a long process, but so far we have the basis of what we need," she said.
"I'm doing the lead vocal tracks now, and then we will get to the mixing and mastering pretty soon."
The trio also was awarded a VideoFACT grant to film a video for her song "Midnight."
"Last Valentine's Day we did a gig and a videographer said he was interested in working with us," Crowe said.
"We'll begin filming it in six weeks, mostly outside in Vancouver."
Although Crowe cites influences ranging from Tori Amos to Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, the young songwriter says she tries to be a unique performer.
"I listen to a lot of different things, and while I'm influenced by many artists, I don't think I try to emulate any of them."
Although her performances have been critically acclaimed, Crowe admits to occasionally getting a touch of stage fright.
"I get stage fright usually before the gig, but on-stage it disappears," she said. "I think I'm more nervous after a show than before."
Catch this rising star on Saturday, free on the main stage in Skiers Plaza at 3 p.m., or later that evening at 10 p.m. at the Crab Shack.