Mike Devlin, The Times Colonist
Saturday, December 4 2004
performer Allison Crowe is a woman for all seasons. But in terms of
her performance schedule, Christmas is by far her most wonderful
time of the year.
“It tends to
be pretty busy,” the 23 year-old singer-songwriter says with a
laugh. “Actually, really
Crowe - a familiar face to islanders since wowing crowds as a teen
in the late ‘90s - are increasingly prevalent as Christmas
For the past few
years, she’s performed a handful of December concerts designed to
raise both awareness and funds for the needy. This year is no
interview from her Nanaimo home, Crowe relived the year that was -
and the month that will be.
“This year has
been particularly good. Last year, I was dealing with record company
stuff; it was more that part of it. There wasn’t a lot of playing,
there wasn’t a lot of recording or anything. This year it’s been
nice to get back into that swing of things.”
At the Royal
Theatre on Sunday, Crowe will make her second appearance in three
years at the Huron Carole benefit concert, an event designed by
musician/actor Tom Jackson to aid national food banks. It’s a role
Crowe seems overwhelmingly comfortable in.
produces in conjunction with a local charity; she’s written songs
about missing women, gathered coats for the under-privileged, and
penned pleas for peace. Pitching-in whenever possible is something
Crowe feels very strong about.
something I try and do fairly regularly. If you can help out, I
think you should. I’ve been given a platform to do things like
that, and it feels great. Why not do it?”
holiday life even more difficult for herself Nov. 11 when she
released a full-length seasonal recording, Tidings. Comprised
of mostly seasonal fare, Crowe’s interpretations include faithful
treatments of traditional tunes such as What Child Is This and
In the Bleak Midwinter and seasonal classics Silent Night,
The First Noel, and O Holy Night
curveballs, however. “It seemed like it would be fun,” Crowe
says of her decision to cover inspirational songs by Leonard Cohen,
the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles, among others.
“It was also
kind of an interesting project to try and put together a different
seasonal CD, once not necessarily with all traditional songs.”
Crowe’s second release this year. The first, Secrets, was a more
conventional singer-songwriter recording that hit stores in July.
Having two records on store shelves is a far cry from last year,
when she was recording songs in New York under contract with music
impresario Jack Ponti’s Bardic Records. The highly-touted deal,
which was to result in a 2003 full-length with distribution by Sony
Music, eventually fell apart and Crowe returned to Nanaimo an
independent artist once again.
hasn’t hampered Crowe’s outlook on her career. It has only made
her want to work harder. “I learned tones. I couldn’t even
explain how many things I learned,” she says confidently.
“But, in a
sense, that was what advanced everything. It was a progression, and
that helped with writing. It was not really starting from scratch,
because the whole time I was learning and experiencing different
Crowe is already
planning a Canadian and U.S. tour early in the new year and hopes to
travel to Europe for the first time in late 2005. She’s also
toying with the idea of releasing another recording, the rockier
Alive and Breathing.
She’s back in
full force - and has a Manhattan performance under her belt to prove
it. The city that was, at one point, responsible for her broken
dreams became the point of her triumphant return in late October.
“I was in New York last year for three weeks, but I never got to
play live. It was so exciting just to be able to play there, because
it’s such a huge thing, I think for every performer.”
to a packed house at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, a cabaret-style
venue located in a basement on vaunted 42nd Street, not
far from where fellow piano players Billy Joel and Tom Waits got