Ward Holland, The Chronicle Journal (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
Saturday, June 29, 2002
Allison Crowe has only been east of the Rocky Mountains once and that was years ago when she went to a cousinís wedding in Toronto.
Other than that, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter hasnít spent much time away from her hometown of Nanaimo, B.C., where she has played the local bars and coffeehouses, collecting great reviews along the way, including one in the National Post.
She hasnít escaped music industry notice. Hereís the way Crowe was introduced to fans of multi-platinum recording artist and entertainer Jewel, when Allison was chosen to be featured guest artist on Jewelís official site in April: "Beautifully moody or riotously rocking, Allison Crowe creates piano-based music of transcendent quality..."
Her lack of experience on the road is all about to change. By the end of July, a good portion of Canada will have the chance to see her and hear her tremendously talented voice, reminiscent of another Canuck gal by the name of Sarah McLachlan. (Crowe is touted as the next big thing from Vancouver Island, after Diana Krall and Nelly Furtado.)
Crowe, her bandmates and her manager spent Wednesday afternoon doing musician gruntwork for a whirlwind tour: sending out emails, preparing their instruments, getting their 30-foot motorhome ready, those sorts of things.
From June 21 to July 14, Crowe and her entourage, which includes Kamloops singer Terra Grimard, will be on a cross-Canada tour that takes them as far east as Montreal and ends back in British Columbia, in the small town of Crawford Bay.
The group arrives in Thunder Bay next week, with a show planned for Tuesday at the Great Northwest Coffee Co. at 8 p.m.
Crowe is remaining open-minded about her inaugural tour. "I know itís going to be a lot of fun," she said Wednesday by telephone. "I have no other expectations otherwise."
Her innocence is still evident by the way she conducts interviews, with a genuine unaffected laugh interspersed in the conversation. One is speaking to a person, not a prima donna pop star or a jaded rocker. She sounds real.
But the music she covers is anything but innocent, relying on styles from the heart-tugging lyrics of Counting Crows and emotional angst-filled power of Pearl Jam, two of her inspirations. She calls her work "piano-vocal music," along the same lines as a Tori Amos or Fiona Apple.
"Itís a fairly original sound - thatís whatís kind of appealing to a lot of people," said her manager Adrian du Plessis.
"As soon as we found out she was a singer-songwriter with a jazz influence, we thought she would be perfect for here," said Rick Three, manager of Great Northwest Coffee Co. and a local musician as well.
Three said he loves the music on her compact disc. "She does a lilting kind of Enya sound to a Natalie Imbruglia kind of sound. Sheís got a very strong vocal.
"I like how the sound of her music was an authentic, affectionate touching sound. And the musicians on the album are very good. They have bass, piano and drums - itís a good trio."