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Crowe readies for Tidings concert


Singer's career is soaring with new album and tour, but still makes time to fundraise for local causes


By Darrell Bellaart     Nanaimo Daily News       December 6, 2012



Allison Crowe enjoys her visits to Nanaimo.


The local singer-songwriter now lives in Cornerbrook, NFLD, so whenever she makes it back - usually about three times a year - she appreciates the chance to catch up with family and friends. Crowe is taking part in two hometown performances during her stint in town.


She was at an old-fashioned Christmas caroling sing-along in the Old City Quarter on Wednesday, and is currently readying for her annual Tidings concert on Sunday at St. Andrew's United Church.


Crowe was 16 when she did her first gig. Last month she celebrated her 31st birthday, so her career now spans almost half her life.


Not that she hasn't occasionally considered giving it all up. "I think everyone does," she said. The idea vanishes, however, the moment she gets up on the stage.


"I can't think of anything else. For me, that's my favourite part." Crowe's musical interests range from jazz through classical to rock. She has a special affinity for Leonard Cohen songs. As a songwriter, she appreciates the sounds of the words and the content as much as the music the poet is known for.


A favourite Cohen ballad, Hallelujah, is covered by numerous artists, yet Crowe managed to create a version that was named record of the week in the U.K. in August 2004 and again in November, 2005.


The video has been viewed more than 10 million times online.


The audio from this video will be featured on Crowe's Tidings Concert album, released Nov. 25. Engineered and mixed by Brad Graham, and Ed Johnson. The compilation is her eighth full-length collection, with 19 in-concert performances.


In May she had a five-day Maritime tour, performing such Cohen songs as Bird on a Wire and Sisters of Mercy, with dance accompaniment by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.


The seed of the idea came from Winnipeg Ballet choreographer Jorden Morris, who started out using a recording of Crowe's version of the popular song. He invited her to Winnipeg, where he persuaded her to do it live on stage.


"While singing I was on stage with them and they were dancing. It was absolutely amazing," she said.


Old City Quarter merchants' Light Up a Life campaign, which Crowe helped open for Haven Society, runs through Dec. 21.


Non-perishable foods, clothes and toys are welcome.


Crowe will be at St. Andrew's United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St. Saturday at 7: 30 p.m. for her Tidings festival. The festival is now a tradition going back nearly 10 holiday seasons.


This year's song list includes traditional carols such as It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Joni Mitchell's River, some Beatles and even a Rolling Stones cover, and her famous version of Hallelujah. 250-729-4235


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