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Acclaimed B.C. Singer Offers Time and Talent to Hartland
Wendy Marr, Hartland Observer
Friday, September 3 2004

Allison Crowe's only N.B. stop during eastern tour will be a benefit concert for Hartland high school

Hartland's new K to 12 school will benefit from the generosity of British Columbia piano-based singer Allison Crowe as she launches her "Secrets" tour in the Covered Bridge community on Thursday, Sept. 23.

Beginning in the smallest incorporated town in Canada - her only New Brunswick appearance - Crowe will close her tour of Eastern Canada and the Eastern U.S. with a stint in New York City on October 16. In between, she will perform in a dozen cities from Charlottetown to Sudbury.

While area music lovers will have the chance to hear such high-calibre talent as Crowe, her only New Brunswick stop has an additional purpose. All proceeds from the ticket sales will go towards fundraising efforts for the new school.

The talented songstress has been compared to a wide range of artists, including Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Patti Smith, Laura Nyro, Carole King, Eddie Vedder, Mahalia Jackson and Joni Mitchell. Born and raised in Nanaimo, B.C., Crowe is a classically-trained pianist who has gradually created her own special blend of jazz, folk, rock and blues. Pop star Jewel selected Allison as one of her favourite artists, saying on her Web site: "Beautifully moody or riotously rocking, Allison Crowe creates piano-based music of transcendent quality."

Crowe regularly headlines concerts in theatres, churches and gallery venues. She has performed in some of this country's top jazz clubs, at folk fests and in rock venues. She shared a concert stage with jazz artists such as Diana Krall and Jane Bunnett and performed for Pearl Jam fans at a Seattle convergence.

Widely read and influential London, England-based music industry Web site/newsletter, Record of the Day, selected Crowe's version of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" as its record of the day for August 3, telling its audience: "Bet you thought you heard all the versions you need to hear of this song, right? Think again, because Allison Crowe has a voice to fall in love with... She's exactly the sort of artist who can make serious headway on her own label and that's just what she's doing."

Crowe's latest success involves having her song "Midnight" selected to be featured prominently on the soundtrack of the independent full-length motion picture "Stolen Grace." Jonathan Kassaw, head of U.S.-based Sun and Shield Productions, chose the track off "Secrets", telling his cast and crew: "Allison Crowe is a singer-songwriter from Canada whose piano-driven ballads along with her strong vocals are a perfect match for our dialogue-based Southern movie." An international call for submissions was put out, and, he says: "Of the entries I received for the movie, hers was head and shoulders above the rest."

The story of "Stolen Grace" focuses around a tight group of friends around the time of high school graduation. The motion picture shows how a death affects people from five points-of view. The small-budget film was produced and filmed in Alabama and stars Gena Gibbs, Christian Lashley and Shannon Leann. Sun and Shield plans to release "Stolen Grace" to film festivals next year.

As for Crowe coming to Hartland later this month, the reason behind her generosity is largely personal. "I think the benefit is a great cause, and from my own personal school experience, I know how important the arts and music and theatre are," she said in a recent interview.

"Part of why I am doing what I do today is because of the opportunities that high school band and theatre offered in getting used to live performance and giving a venue in which to do so - And of course, learning the skills and craft of it all." Crowe says she also took music lessons outside of school and continues to take vocal lessons. "I was in both theatre and music, and I loved it.

Although she has never been to the Maritimes, let alone Hartland, Crowe says she is happy to be a part of this benefit, "because I think that it is essential to have music and theatre in school.

"Hopefully, this benefit show can get the school closer to being able to reach its goal in having music and theatre in the school, and get the materials and building and support it needs in order to do so."

Tickets for the Allison Crowe concert at Hartland High School on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. are $10 each. They may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 375-8229.