David Ball, Gulf Islands Driftwood
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Sometimes it can be best to start at the end. As Allison Crowe’s riveting Salt Spring performance came to a close last Sunday, there was an almost-tangible feeling that this was something special.
The windows and doors of the Lions Hall were open behind Crowe and her band, and you could feel the piercing night air. Crowe sat in front of her keyboard, bathed in soft light, sharing a comfortable smile with the audience.
It was a moment of silence after a show that stunned people with its combination of intensity and gentleness. But it felt like her powerful jazz-infused voice hung in the air and continued to dance.
Allison Crowe is a 20-year-old singer and songwriter from Nanaimo, whose voice combines jazz, soul, rock - and a sheer intensity fitting of folk artist Ani DiFranco.
The show opened with a rich vocal performance by Lori-Anne Jackson, a 19-year-old singer and songwriter who will be touring with Crowe for part of her first cross-Canada tour.
You can probably bet Crowe is going to be famous really soon.
Thanks to her own talents and the caring work of her manager, Salt Spring music promoter Adrian du Plessis, Crowe has just released a music video to promote her debut album Midnight Syren. The video has been requested by stations across the country, including Much Music.
The people who shared the June 23 evening with Crowe got to see the video’s "world premiere" in the intimate venue.
Du Plessis said that Salt Spring Island is like a "second home" for Crowe and her band-mates Dave Baird on bass and Kevin Clevette on drums.
Backstage after the show, Crowe and Jackson shared some laughs with fans who had stuck around to meet them.
"We’ve played here a lot," Crowe told the Driftwood. "We come back here at any chance possible. It’s awesome - we’re still close to home."
Crowe could have been born on a stage. She had a calm and joking presence that put the audience at ease. In the middle of one song, during a daringly-long note, a fly started buzzing around her face. With a grin, Crowe wavered her powerful voice to follow the fly’s movement up and down, much to the enjoyment of the audience.
Crowe’s Crying in a Rainstorm tour goes until July 14.