Cindy Filipenko, Herizons
Secrets, the debut CD of 23-year-old singer-songwriter Allison Crowe, showcases a performer who could, with the right management, unseat Sarah McLachlan as the West Coast's premier siren. A fixture on the Vancouver Island coffee house circuit since the age of 15, Crowe has developed a style that sets her apart from her contemporaries.
Composed on the piano, Crowe's songs are built on solid melodic foundation. Her pop-perfect voice has a surprising amount of power that complements her impassioned playing. With a voice that pulls you into her emotional states, Crowe is reminiscent of Tori Amos - but without the fragility.
The lone cover song she includes on the CD is from one of her icons, Leonard Cohen. She tackles his "Joan of Arc" and manages to make it her own - not an easy task, considering the amazing version Jennifer Warnes added to the canon with Famous Blue Raincoat. That, at 23, Crowe should have the maturity to make her interpretation of this complex song sound sincere and authentic is truly impressive.
The only complaint I have with Secrets is
the minimal liner notes that accompany the disc. I suspect there's
probably more to the music than to the lyrics, but hey - that's
worked well for McLachlan.