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Sure Thing: Allison Crowe
Sue Carter Flinn, The Coast (Halifax)
Thursday, September 23 2004

Allison Crowe: September 24 at Ginger's Tavern and September 25 at The Music Room

Nanaimo singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is a fiery-haired bundle of contradictions. The young girl with the old soul voice is just as comfortable playing in small coffee shops as she is charming the crowds in large piano halls. She's been called the next Sarah McLachlan and Diana Krall (woman + piano + west coast = obvious comparison), but wait a second - the new Eddie Vedder?

"I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan so I can see how that one could get in there," Crowe says, giggling. "Maybe I said that one."

Much of the buzz surrounding Crowe has grown by word-of-mouth (with a little help from Jewel, who featured Crowe's "beautifully moody or riotously rocking" music on her website). Downloads for her debut album, Secrets, ranked higher than any other independent artist on, in categories as diverse as jazz, blues, singer-songwriter, gospel, Celtic folk and alternative rock.

"It's all eclectic," Crowe says. "When someone asks me what kind of music I play, it all depends on the type of music I'm writing at that time. It could be rock, jazz or folk. I haven't really experienced any constraints from that. I just do my own thing."

A real-life Miss Independent, Crowe started her own record label in Nanaimo, the gorgeously named Rubenesque Records, rather than sign with a major company. Crowe controls where and when she records, preferring the spontaneity and thrill of single-take, live-off-the-floor sessions.

"It's more like a performance than it is a recording. It's got that energy. I recorded Secrets in my living room, which was great because I got to record whenever I saw fit," she admits. "It's the most natural. If it's strained or if the situation is strained, I think that you can probably hear that in a recording."