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 VUE Weekly: Edmonton's 100% Independent Weekly

Thursday, May 11, 2006

MUSIC

FROM VANCOUVER ISLAND TO CORNER BROOK, NEWFOUNDLAND, AS THE CROWE FLIES

DAVID BERRY / david@vueweekly.com

Though most of us spend our 20s ricocheting from one lifestyle to the next—I know I went from gel-haired Top 40ist to sweater-wearing philosophy major to sardonic writer with ironic t-shirts in about 18 months—change is actually a fairly rare thing for those people who make their living as musicians.

For whatever reason, it seems that once they find their niche, they’re pretty much set for the rest of time—their music and lifestyle change roughly as often as an Alberta government: see Weezer, Dave Grohl and so on.

As such, the last year has been a little strange for Nanaimo’s Allison Crowe. The 23-year-old piano chanteuse, who’s been playing publicly since she was 16 and released her first EP at the age of 20, has been expanding her horizons both musically and otherwise: she’s also moved literally cross-country, from Vancouver Island to Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

“I moved last fall, so I’ve never actually seen it without snow,” she says of her new home, which she shares with her boyfriend, whom she met on her last Canadian tour.

“To be honest, I’m really not used to all the snow—apparently it wasn’t much of a winter for them, not nearly as much snow as they’re used to, but being from BC, it seemed like a lot to me. I’m not so sure about next year,” she adds with a laugh.

Of course, the snow has had some positive consequences, namely forcing her indoors and tinkering around with more than just her voice and piano. Though she’s always had a diverse pool to draw from—she earnestly cites everything from Leonard Cohen to Pearl Jam and Counting Crows alongside some more traditional jazz interests as influences—she’s now found time to experiment with actually writing for guitar, something that has broadened her interests even further.

“My knowledge of the guitar is limited pretty much to the main chords, but that’s sort of good for me,” she explains, pointing out that while her newest album, still in the recording stages, will still be based around the piano she’s made her name on, the guitar is helping her with that, too.

“It’s really hard for me, as someone trained in classical piano, to simplify music. It’s like, ‘No, I have to complicate this!’ but I really can’t complicate it on the guitar, so I think it’s giving me a little bit of a different perspective on music.” V

Thu, May 18 (8 pm)
Allison Crowe
Yardbird Suite, $16