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Allison Crowe: Secrets
Sarah Towle, The Martlet, Volume 57, Issue 4
Thursday, August 18 2004

Crowe's raw talent shines through

            Allison Crowe
            Secrets
            Rubenesque Records

            by Sarah Towle

Offering an eclectic mix of blues, jazz, folk, and classical, indie artist Allison Crowe transcends many different musical genres on her latest CD, Secrets.

A native of Nanaimo, the 22-year-old singer, songwriter and pianist has been featured by Jewel and shared the stage with Canada's jazz icon Diana Krall. Crowe mixes the mellow and traditional jazz styling of Norah Jones with the pop sounds of Sarah McLachlan. With the addition of her own powerhouse vocals she creates a truly unique sound.

Secrets begins with "How Long," a rhythmic and soulful song demonstrating her powerful vocal range, as well as her strength as a songwriter. Next up, she covers the Counting Crows' "Raining in Baltimore," adding a much softer and more subdued sound than on Adam Duritz's raspy version. As well, Crowe re-arranges Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc," which presents a dreary account of the French heroine's death. She brightens up his drab and monotone version with melodic vocals and a background accordion, making the song her own.

However, Crowe's real flair and dexterity as a musician shine through on the final track, "Whether I'm Wrong." With every note sung perfectly in tune and without one instrumental flaw, it is hard to believe this song was recorded live at the New VI's TV special "Inside Pandora's Box." Armed with her strong, bluesy voice and her piano, Crowe delivers a stellar performance.

Despite Crowe's obvious strong talent, the CD itself screams of low budget production with weak back-up vocals and muffled instrumental sounds. However, Crowe's raw talent on Secrets shows much promise and will only flourish when she is signed to a major record company.

The entire album is available in in streaming audio on her website, www.allisoncrowe.com.