Andrea Nemetz, The Halifax Herald
Thursday, September 23 2004
brings her passionate voice and storytelling talents
to Ginger's Tavern on Friday at 10 p.m. and The Music Room on Saturday
at 8 p.m.
Allison Crowe didn't hear Leonard Cohen's songs from the master
lyricist himself, nor did she hear Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat
album which made the songs famous among a generation of listeners.
The 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Nanaimo, B.C., heard Rufus
Wainwright, one of her favourite artists, performing Cohen's Hallelujah
and knew she had to record it for herself.
Her spine-tingling version of the anthem, recorded live off the
floor in a single take appeared on her six-song Christmas EP Tidings.
Listeners downloaded it so often, it reached No. 1 on Amazon.com. in the
U.K. in the jazz/vocal category. It was also named the record of the day
for Aug. 3 by influential London, England-based music industry
website/newsletter, Record of the Day, which has tipped people early to
such artists as Damien Rice, The Darkness, Keane and The Black Eyed
And Cohen's manager liked it so much she made sure that anytime the
young performer with the powerful voice wanted to do one of Cohen's hits
it was financially within reach.
Crowe took advantage of that agreement to record Joan of Arc on
her latest CD, Secrets, which was picked up for distribution last month
"I liked the character of the song, the poetry in it as well as
the story of Joan of Arc, a strong female figure," Crowe says from
Vancouver Island, where she's busying preparing for her first tour to
the Maritime provinces, with stops in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and
P.E.I. before continuing on to Michigan, Ontario, Ohio, Montreal and New
Crowe, who has been singing professionally since a gig on her 16th
birthday at a Vancouver Island jazz club, plays Ginger's Tavern at 10
p.m. Friday and the Music Room at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The set list is varied - in addition to playing tunes from Secrets
for which she penned nine of 11 tunes - she's thinking of including I
Dreamed the Dream from Les Mis, Sarah McLachlan's Angel ("fun to do in
concert"), Janis Joplin's Me and Bobby McGee and Nirvana's Smells Like
Teen Spirit ("fun to do solo").
Crowe spent much of last year writing as well as gleaning wisdom
from Jack Ponti, the U.S. music industry veteran who, as manager,
pivoted India.Arie to multi-platinum success and numerous Grammy
nominations before forming his own record label.
After returning to Nanaimo, where she was born and still lives
with her parents, she recorded the songs for Secrets in her living room
with a piano, laptop and microphone and production and engineering
assistance from Rainer Willeke of Raindog Productions in Victoria, B.C.
Willeke also shakes a tambourine, joining guest artists Del Crowe, on
guitar, Jo Lundstrom on accordion and Eric Reiswig on Uilleann Pipes.
Reviewers have compared her vocal style to everyone from Pearl Jam
(the passion of Eddie Vedder) to Tori Amos.
"Sometimes I go, 'Wow where did they get that', " she laughs,
noting she enjoys listening to Joni Mitchell, Loreena McKennitt, the
Beastie Boys, Fiona Apple, Pearl Jam, Amos and The Beatles.
Among Crowe's performing highlights have been opening for Diana
Krall and performing in the Huron Carole in Victoria.