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Allison Crowe, all set to wow Gabriolans

By Bruce Mason, Gabriola Sounder
Monday, December 10 2007


“Please tell you readers that my concert will be an evening for everyone to enjoy,” she said over the phone from her mom’s house in Nanaimo. “And I mean everyone.”

Allison Crowe was intrigued by my question: “Do you encourage people to sing along?”

“Every time I get on stage, with mixed results,” she replied with a frequent trademark giggle. “And if Gabriolans sing along that is going to make the evening even more special and memorable for me and them.”

Crowe reported that she will be performing: “Christmas songs from the “Tidings” CD, covers, original material, a lot of piano and some guitar.”

The Christmas songs you know about, a host of timeless season classics. The “Tidings” tour is billed “Music for the season and all time.”

Covers? Let’s just say that there is widespread agreement that she has recoded definitive versions of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Joni Mitchell’s “River,” the Rolling Stones’ “Shine a Light,” and Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” to say nothing of, ”Let it Be,” and “Imagine.”

Originals? She has already recorded enough material for a entire CD and we will also be hearing some of these new songs.

It’s a wonderful time for the musician, who just turned 26. The mainstream recording industry is in an unprecedented state of flux, and a new window has opened that allows talent to shine and attract a massive audience.

“I would not have been as successful without the Internet,” said Crowe, whose own site is described as ‘deep.’ “It enabled me to get gigs, reach a global audience and play all over the world, including a recent tour of Europe.”

Learning from other artists, such as Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennitt, she has been able to put her own stamp of individual freedom on her ongoing artistic and commercial success.

“I established my own label, Rubenesque Records, because I appreciate creative independent music and musicians and haven’t been interested in following formulas and directions from corporations,” Crowe reported.

Her “Tidings” concert kicked off late last month in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, her new base and then picked up again in Campbell River, Pender Island, Gibsons, Salt Spring, Victoria, and Gabriola, followed by Nanaimo and Whistler on New Years Eve.

“It was time to get back and see everyone, including friends on Gabriola, and my family, of course, “said Crowe, giggling again. “Tidings” helps support Food Banks, firefighters, SPCAs, Artemis Place (life skills and academics for girls), GABA (Group Applied Behavior Analysis - helping autistic children), the Mind’s Eye youth newspaper, as well as high school band and sports programs.

“Like virtually every other child I went through stages when I wanted to be a vet or dentist, but I was always writing and playing music,” she recalled growing up in Nanaimo. “I attended Woodland Secondary and value high school music programs which provide instruction if you don’t take private lessons and introduces you to playing with other people.”

Crowe however took lessons, lots of them and took advantage of every opportunity in musical theatre, any open microphone, on any stage, by age 15, and playing jazz gigs, a year later.

“I even played in that little place at the ferry dock, the White Hart, and in every cover and original band imaginable.” she recalled. “I got so busy I still needed two science credits to graduate from high school, and had to pick those up later.”

Talent, discipline, drive, technology and a genuine love for creating uniquely personal music and performances are among the factors contributing to her rapid rise to international stardom.

So is management. And believe me, Adrian du Plessis is a manager worthy of Ms Crowe. I have many E-mails sent in the middle of the night and countless phone calls to prove it.

“At a young age, Alley has written at least 80 very good songs, recorded five CD’s on her own label, and paid her dues while logging hundreds of thousand of kilometers,” he said. “And it’s working; all that energy is flowing back in ways that are sometimes overwhelming.”

Allison Crowe’s “Tidings” concert - with special guest and good friend, photographer and singer-songwriter guitarist Billie Woods from Salt Spring - is Friday, December 14th at 7:30 pm in the Community Hall. Tickets are $20 ($15 for seniors and students) at Artworks. At the door: $22 and $17.

Her “Tidings” CDs had sold out at press time, but more were made available by the time you read this. So, advance tickets are highly recommended and save some money to buy a CD and take some time to have it autographed so you can say you saw her on Gabriola.



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