Compact Reviews: This Little Bird
Robert Moyes, Boulevard magazine (Canada)
Despite all the background noise currently swamping the music scene, (mindless music celebrity-gossip, over-hyped reunion tours of dinosaur rockers better left in deep storage, etc.), there are always good recordings that can sometimes be heard above the din. Here are five recent releases that are worth tracking down at your favourite CD shop:
I have been enamoured of Nanaimo singer-pianist Allison Crowe ever since she brought out her Christmas record, (Tidings), several years ago. Her latest CD, and also her best, is This Little Bird, which not only showcase her exquisite, vibrato-rich voice, but also reveals a maturing songwriting talent. From yearning ballads (“Effortless”) to the up-tempo title song, this is modern alt-pop that never cloys even after numerous listens. Crowe’s originals are vivid, both musically and lyrically, and she also does memorable covers. Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” has a stark beauty while her version of “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” would give Aretha Franklin goose-bumps.
(The four CDs following in this review are the newest releases from Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, Reid Jamieson, and Richard Thompson.)