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Tidings CD worth 'crowing' about
Tuesday, December 14 2004
Photo by Billie Woods

If you missed Allison Crowe in concert last weekend, don't worry. You can hear her soaring vocals on the CD Tidings, a collection of traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas songs.

By John Kimantas
The News Bulletin

I have a new favourite version of Silent Night. It is Allison Crowe's version on her new CD, Tidings.
Or not so new. It's so hard to keep track of her these days, especially since one of the tracks, Hallelujah, was recorded by her before.

This collection of 12 songs is being marketed as a Christmas CD, thanks to the inclusion of traditional classics such as Silent Night and The First Noel. But as a Christmas selection it is one of the oddest (most unique?) that I have seen, with covers of songs by Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones and Sarah McLachlan - songs that have little or nothing to do with Christmas. And maybe that's a good thing...

Crowe has a beautiful voice and a beautiful way to carry it, but occasionally... for me anyway... it doesn't work. (Though I should mention other than the ending, her rendition of Angel is absolutely beautiful.)

When it all comes together, Crowe does it beautifully. Silent Night is one of those songs. It's just her voice and her piano, and it's magical.

There are many examples of that on Tidings. And where McLachlan might be tough to compete against, it's also nice to hear where Crowe improves upon a classic, like Lennon and McCartney's In My Life, a pop song that never appealed much to me, until now.

I should mention there are enough Christmas songs for this to be considered a Christmas CD. It should make an interesting addition to the seasonal collection of many households. For those who are about to dust off a Bing Crosby Christmas LP for another seasonal spin, try this CD instead.

It's a glimpse into what a talented young Nanaimo artist can accomplish, and while her style might not be for everyone, chances are there are several points in the CD where any listener will get lost in Crowe's renditions.

John Kimantas is the assistant editor of the News Bulletin.
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