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Allison Crowe brings 'Tidings'

Nanaimo native singer featured in MOJO Leonard Cohen tribute


Robert Barron, The Daily News

Published: Thursday, December 04, 2008

Nanaimo's Allison Crowe intends to be home for Christmas.

Canada's bi-coastal musical sensation will end her annual North American Tidings Christmas tour on the west coast, with Crowe's traditional Nanaimo concert being held at the historic St. Andrew's United Church on Dec. 13.

Crowe has been performing her Tidings concert each festive season in Nanaimo since 2003 in St. Andrew's church.

Nanaimo's Allison Crowe intends to be home for Christmas.

Nanaimo's Allison Crowe intends to be home for Christmas.

"I always make it a point to make it home to Nanaimo every Christmas and perform at St. Andrew's," Crowe told the Daily News from her newly adopted home in Corner Brook, NF, where she began the Tidings concert this year on Nov. 25 before moving on to much larger venues across the continent, including Toronto, New York and Philadelphia and ending in Whistler on Dec. 20.

"It's a lot of fun playing at St. Andrew's because I have a great time when I'm there playing for my hometown in such a beautiful location.

"It also means I'll be in the area to celebrate Christmas with my family."

Tidings was created as a television special in 2003 and a compact disc of the show was also released.

For its rating of holiday CDs in 2004, The Toronto Sun gave it four out of a possible five stars. The following year, BBC Radio listeners cited the Tidings CD among the greatest cover albums of all time.

The Tidings concerts raise money for local community organizations such as women's groups and homeless outreach programs.

Crowe, who has released six albums over the years, said the Tidings concert series stirs traditional Christmas carols and holiday favourites with an organic blend of rock, jazz, gospel and soul, laced with overtones of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, and broadway. She said the Nanaimo concert will be special for her because her old band instructor from Woodlands Secondary School, Rick Becker, will have his students open up the show.

"I'm also excited that my private singing teacher in Nanaimo, Andrea Bertram, will also be there to take in the show," Crowe said.

"I'm really excited about it and I can't wait to finally get home again."

Crowe has had a busy year of touring and song-writing and was involved with two major tributes to singing legend Leonard Cohen, including one by British-based MOJO magazine. It will have Cohen songs performed by a number of singers -- including Crowe, Ian McCullough and Katie Melau -- on a cover-mount CD called Cohen Covered in its December edition.

Crowe contributed her cover of Joan of Arc to the CD, a favourite first heard on the 1971 Cohen album, Songs of Love and Hate.

"It was pretty cool being involved in tributes to Leonard Cohen (which also included her rendition of Cohen's 'Hallelujah' that was recorded by BBC as part of an hour long documentary on Cohen) because his musical influence is in every set I play," she said.

"After Christmas, I'll continue touring and I expect to be in Europe in the spring, particularly France, Germany and Scotland -- where I've going a lot lately -- and finding new influences for my musical career."

Crowe's Tidings concert in Nanaimo this year, which begins at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, will aid the Mind's Eye youth publication as well as Woodlands' band and basketball programs.

For more information, check out www.allisoncrowe.com.



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