Bruce Von Stiers, BVS Reviews: Rock/Jazz (USA)
There is no easy way to describe the magnitude of the talent of Allison Crowe. This pianist / vocalist has gathered a bunch of awards and a ton of fans since her career began. Her music has been compared to Sarah McLachlan, Jewel and several other top female artists. But to put her in a box like that isn't quite fair. Allison has her own unique style.
This young Canadian, she is in early 20's, has been playing to audiences since her early teens. From coffeehouses to large concert hall and even television specials, Allison has honed her talents so once you hear her, you will become an instant fan.
Allison recorded a live album that has a lot of people talking about it. This album was recorded at Wood Hall, the converted chapel at the Conservatory of Music in Victoria , British Columbia. The title of the album is Live at Wood Hall.
This is actually a double live album with two discs. You get about two hours of beautiful vocals and tremendous piano music. Allison wrote several of the songs that she performs.
Interspersed with the songs are bits with Allison talking to the audience. She is witty and creates an instant connection with the audience.
The first disc starts out with a song that Allison wrote called There Is. It s a beautiful song that has strong vocals and wonderful piano.
The next song is By Your Side. It is another song that Allison wrote. The intro sounds somewhat like Journey's Faithfully. Now there is vast difference between the ‘80's rock ballad and Allison's song, but the piano music is similar in spots.
Bill is from the musical Showboat. Allison leads into the song by talking about seeing a Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera. She mentions something about an explosion on stage and pondered whether there was a new phantom each performance. The song allows Allison's penchant for show tunes to shine through.
Allison does a pretty good job of covering Ani DiFranco's Independence Day. She also has some fun with Jerome Kern's jazzy tune, In Love In Vain.
The traditional air, Believe Me If All, is beautifully done as the last song on the first disc.
The second disc holds some originals songs along with some delightfully unexpected covers.
The first song on the second disc is Crayon and Ink. It is a slow ballad with heart rending vocals and haunting piano. Another strong piece is Pray For Rain.
You are sure to like Allison's cover of the Tori Amos song, Playboy Mommy. Her inflections are the same at Tori's but the voice is distinctly different. This makes it as much Allison's song as Tori's.
Allison tackles another Broadway tune with I Dreamed A Dream.
The last two songs on the second disc are both covers. There is John Lennon's Imagine. The other song is Me and Bobby McGee. I haven't heard very many covers of Imagine. Allison does a good job of capturing the essence of the Lennon's music. As for Me and Bobby McGee, I have heard a lot of people do this song. But I haven't heard anything like Allison's version before. Allison puts a whole different spin on the song by changing the inflection on several keys word in the verses. This indeed makes a different type of cover and lets Allison assume ownership of the song.
If you get the chance to listen to Allison Crowe, you will see what people all over Canada, parts of the U.S. and fans around the world are talking about. Allison is a world class pianist and vocalist. You will have to go a long ways to find someone who is so young and yet so talented.
Allison has samples of her music on her web site. You can learn more about her, find out where she's touring and even order Allison's albums through the site. The site can be found at www.allisoncrowe.com .