Allison Crowe
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Allison Crowe

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The best kept secret in music


"Live at Wood Hall ~ album review (January 3, 2007)"

I'm behind on my current release reviews, but I must take a break to write about an older album that I love. Though there's really no way to convey through mere words how much the music on Allison Crowe's Live At Wood Hall moves me, or how I want other people to listen to and adore it as much as I do. Allison sings with such an intensity of emotion, it's easy to see why she's often quoted as saying "Why music? Why breathing?". She seems to feel her music more than anyone simply listening to it possibly could, and that kind of artistic passion seems extremely rare these days. Her voice produces the kind of chills that I only associate with a select number of singers.

Even the packaging of Live At Wood Hall is lovely. The interior flaps of the album cover and each of the two discs are painted with a stained glass window design, pulling apart and fitting together as a perfect picture. The album was recorded live during a two night performance in 2005 at Wood Hall, located at the Victoria Conservatory Of Music in Canada. In between songs, you can hear snippets of Allison's banter with the audience and the enthusiastic response of the crowd.

Like many of Allison's songs, "There Is" starts off the first disc of the album in a such a heartfelt and sincere tone that it can only call to mind classic Joni Mitchell. There are many moments on the two discs where Allison's voice seems to defy gravity, and the opening track is no exception.

"By Your Side" was one of the first original Allison Crowe songs that I ever heard. After her cover of "Hallelujah", this is probably the song that really captured my attention. On the surface it seems like a simple piano tune, but toward the end her voice soars up into an unfathomable note and holds it without faltering at all.

The cover of Ani Difranco's "Independence Day" begins slowly in a hushed and pretty tone, gradually growing into passionate anger and pounding piano. The upbeat music of "Sea Of A Million Faces" betrays the melancholy, longing, and desperation of its lyrics. The lyrics of "Bill" are quite funny, but the power of the vocals diverts attention from the comedy.

"Fire", "What About You", and "Whether I'm Wrong" are a few of many songs that showcase the unique and vast range of Allison's voice. Her pitch is particularly noteworthy on "Whether I'm Wrong", falling to its lowest depths and rising faultlessly to its purest heights.

"In Love In Vain" is soft and jazzy, with a purring lilt to the vocals. The cover of Counting Crows' "A Murder Of One" is fervent and dignified. The first disc is rounded out with Allison's beautiful and echoing acapella performance of the traditional "Believe Me If All".

The soft and soulful "Crayon And Ink" opens the second disc. It's another favourite of her original songs. "How Long" shows off the throatier side of Allison's vocals. "Running" is yet another strong vocal performance, with lyrics that foreshadow "Effortless" on This Little Bird. Allison names Tori Amos as one of her favourite artists and influences, and has covered several of her songs. Here she does a stripped down version of "Playboy Mommy", from Tori's From The Choirgirl Hotel album.

The lovely piano intro of "Disease" melts into a tune that is much darker in tone than most of her work. The song features some of Allison's best and most intense piano playing. Next is a live performance of the title track from the Secrets studio album. It's one of many songs that are featured on both albums. Secrets is another great album, though I must admit I prefer these live versions.

The album ends with a trio of covers. "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables followed by a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine", and Janis Joplin's "Me And Bobby McGee" for the finale. All three songs have been covered many times by both great and mediocre artists. Here Allison Crowe once again proves that there is no song too great for her powerful voice to conquer. Her vocals on "I Dreamed A Dream" are especially potent and moving. As with her cover of "Hallelujah", she seems to put every fiber of her being into the song and it's an awe inspiring thing to hear.

- Victoria McCabe, Muruch (USA)

"Crowe for Christmas ~ album review (December 15, 2006)"

It is customary among some at this time of year, to begin to issue seasonal greeting by reference to some song. Thus, to readers, I say, have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, or, to paraphrase ecumenically, a Cheery Chanukah or a Kolossal Kwanza.

To help you on your way, there is the usual shower of Christmas albums. You might try CDs by Canadian icons Sarah McLachlan (Wintersong) and the Barra MacNeils (The Christmas Album II), or journey to the land of the green Christmas (mostly) for James Taylor's At Christmas, while the most unlikely source of peace and love is shock-rock heavy metallers Twisted Sister, with A Twisted Christmas. Somehow, I can't quite associate chestnuts roasting on an open fire or sleigh bells jing-a-lingling with Dee Snider and crew...

But for me, the real revelation is an CD from last year that I've only just listened to. I refer to that other singer-pianist from Nanaimo, B.C., Allison Crowe. And if you haven't heard of her or, better yet, heard her, you really should.

Her album is called Tidings (Rubenesque Records) and they are glad indeed. Beginning with a brief but stirring rendition of the carol It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Crowe launches into a 12-track CD that contains not a single turkey, nor any stuffing. There are other carols (Silent Night, The First Noel), but Crowe also pays tribute to the gods of rock and roll, with charming readings of the Beatles' Let it Be and In My Life, Joni Mitchell's River and the Rolling Stones' Shine a Light, fittingly and thematically concluding with Angel.

Crowe's warm, natural, passionate — and need I add lovely? — voice are perhaps shown to best effect on another glorious standard, Leonard Cohen's magnificent and deeply spiritual quest for faith, Hallelujah. It's been sung brilliantly before by the likes of Rufus Wainright and k.d. lang, but Crowe easily holds her own in that august company. I expect much more to be heard from her. - Martin Levin, The Women's Post (Canada)

"Secrets ~ album reviews (Canada, USA+)"

Secrets: CD Review
Sophia Gurley, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music (USA)
August 2006

"Lisa's Song" is a beautiful, powerful song for a young woman, Lisa Marie Young, who went missing from Nanaimo, B.C. in June 2002, and proceeds from the sale of the CD go to help fund the search for her. Unlike other songs I've heard written for such occasions, this is a real song, and not a clichéd, didactic, flat tirade—this is a song worth listening to for itself and not just its message. "Fade Away" is a quieter song, though still urgent as are all Allison Crowe's songs. "Midnight" swings from gentle, optimistic verse to full-out impassioned chorus. "Crayon and Ink" has a yearning beginning, again breaking into a passionate conclusions, as does "Dark Blue". "Scared" is brave enough to start quietly, to build and then again to fade. "Philosophy" starts and ends with the most insistent kind of percussion—a fitting backdrop for the extravagant gymnastics of Allison Crowe's vocals here. Overall, this is an amazingly strong debut.


Album Review: Secrets
Colin Meeks, (USA)
Friday, January 20 2006

If a voice could be a precious metal, then Vancouver Island, BC native, Allison Crowe's would be 24 caret gold, no doubt about it. There's a haunting purity that almost hypnotises with its beauty. Even as I write this, I'm listening to the album, trying to fight the desire to put down the pen, close my eyes and be taken away to the heavens. Am I waxing lyrical? Yes I am, but for good reason.

When an artist has such an amazing voice, it's easy to forget the accompaniment, but credit where credit's due, for this too is exceptional.

Any album that features a track from Leonard Cohen is certainly heading in the right direction. But when it is covered so beautifully, it makes you realise what an amazing lyricist Leonard Cohen is. Joan of Arc is the Cohen song covered on this album and it's certainly in my top 10 of Cohen covers. It's also my favorite track on the album along with the Beatles classic, In My Life (on Crowe's Tidings).

Conclusion : I'm hoping to hear a lot more of Allison in the coming year. A truly excellent album, that again can be downloaded for free, but please remember to do the right thing and support this fantastic artist by purchasing either a CD or downloaded version.


CD Special: Secrets Review
Alan Cackett, Maverick (UK)
September 2005

23 year-old Allison Crowe is another Canadian, a multi-talented singer-songwriter who shows on her first full length album, Secrets, that she is a force to be reckoned with. Leaning more towards the jazzier side of roots music, she accompanies herself on piano and guitar
and is assisted by Del Crowe (guitar), Jo Lundstrom (accordion) and Eric Reiswig (uillean pipes). A professional since she was fifteen, Allison is a road-hardened musician and her lyrics and music belie her years.
She moves effortlessly from the piano-driven Immersed to the more organic Sea of A Million Faces. A deep, highly listenable collection.


Arts & Culture: Music
Cindy Filipenko, Herizons (Canada)
Winter 2005

Secrets, the debut CD of 23-year-old singer-songwriter Allison Crowe, showcases a performer who could, with the right management, unseat Sarah McLachlan as the West Coast's premier siren. A fixture on the Vancouver Island coffee house circuit since the age of 15, Crowe has developed a style that sets her apart from her contemporaries.

Composed on the piano, Crowe's songs are built on solid melodic foundation. Her pop-perfect voice has a surprising amount of power that complements her impassioned playing. With a voice that pulls you into her emotional states, Crowe is reminiscent of Tori Amos - but without the fragility.

The lone cover song she includes on the CD is from one of her icons, Leonard Cohen. She tackles his "Joan of Arc" and manages to make it her own - not an easy task, considering the amazing version Jennifer Warnes added to the canon with Famous Blue Raincoat. That, at 23, Crowe should have the maturity to make her interpretation of this complex song sound sincere and authentic is truly impressive.

The only complaint I have with Secrets is the minimal liner notes that accompany the disc. I suspect there's probably more to the music than to the lyrics, but hey - that's worked well for McLachlan.


Secrets: CD Review
Teri McIntyre, Empowerment4Women (USA)
November/December 2004

"Why breathing?" comes the answer from Allison Crowe when asked about her career, "Why music?" A pretty elementary answer but it is well in step with the impassioned piano rock she casts out on her latest release Secrets. Everything spills forth in Crowe's music; she holds nothing back lyrically and lets her intense voice carry that emotion to the heights and depths of whatever environment in which it is unleashed.

The album kicks off with the bluesy piano ballad "How Long," which traipses through the complexities of waiting for something, anything to happen. "Whether I'm Wrong" is another blues-edged song that is subtly political in tone. Crowe wrote the song in New York about all the people she was seeing who don't support the war in Iraq but felt they had no voice in the matter. She decided to give them a voice, and does so starkly and with great conviction.

Sedate is the best word to describe "Philosophy" as it falls around you with stirring introspection and wistfulness. "Montreal" is all about love—falling in love, being in love . . . It is most romantic and ladened with heartfelt emotion. A favorite track is Crowe's stirring cover of Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc." The arrangement is masterful, as Crowe gets right into the lyrics and flips them out to give a vivid and highly charged perspective that is missing underneath Cohen's own deadpan delivery.

Crowe also covers Counting Crow's hauntingly gorgeous "Raining in Baltimore." I was trepidatious about listening to the track as it is my third favorite CC song (yes, I have ranked all of their songs). Unlike the woefulness that punctuates Adam Duritz's vocals on the original, Crowe manages to elicit a great deal of hopefulness from the melancholic lyrics that is unique and enjoyable (even to a fanatic like me). A large reason why I enjoy this cover is that I hear a little of Adam Duritz in the way she attacks and recedes from the song in terms of tone and style.

Crowe's vocal sound is really unlike any other artist I have ever heard. At times, I hear the Duritz influence (check out "Shine A Light" from Tidings as an excellent example); other times, I hear Cher's deep throat rolls or Tori Amos's breathy evocations. There is just such a mixture of ranges and styles that it is almost impossible to pinpoint the stunning power and strength of Crowe's voice when she lays it on top of her stellar piano playing.

Secrets is comprised of many different genres—from pop to folk to rock to blues to jazz—without a misstep among the tracks. She even throws in a hidden Celtic track for good measure. What is most appealing about Crowe though is her confidence and comfortability with her music. For someone so young to just grab onto the music and ride it out wherever it may lead is remarkable and admirable.


Secrets: CD Review
David McPherson, exclaim! (Canada)
October5, 2004

A confident, powerful voice, infused with passion, propels the 11 tracks on this debut. Allison Crowe crows with limitless range that surprises one with its breadth from one song to the next. "Raining in Baltimore" is a spirited, yet subdued, reworking of the Counting Crows' piano ballad, while she also tackles Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc" with haunting beauty. The ivories and Crowe's powerful voice are the driving forces behind the music here, with backing instruments taking a back seat. On "What About You," the Uilleann pipes add another layer of sound, but still it's only a whisper when paired with Crowe's spellbinding piano prowess. With the soul of Janis Joplin and the tenderness of fellow Canuck Sarah McLachlan, Crowe rocks with her own unique brand of roots charm.


Secrets: CD Review
Joseph Blake, The Times Colonist (Canada)
Sunday, September 26, 2004

Secrets (Festival) is young Allison Crowe's debut CD, and it backs up the hype that a series of local performances have produced. Whether remaking the Counting Crows' Raining in Baltimore and Leonard Cohen's Joan of Arc or unleashing her surprisingly mature original songs, Secrets is a showcase for Crowe's big, emotive vocals.

Backing herself on piano with minimalist studio support including Del Crowe's guitar, Jo Lundstrom's accordion, and Eric Reiswig's uilleann pipes, Crowe offers a tremelo-spiced series of evocative modern rock. There are echoes of Sarah McLachlan's vocal pyrotechnics, but Crowe is forging her own darker, more soulful style of pop singing that adds blues and jazz elements to the mix. A great debut CD.


The Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Canada)
Arts, Saturday, September 4, 2004




Secrets (Rubenesque Records/Festival)

Canada has no shortage of young female singer/songwriters who can belt out a song.

Add to the list Allison Crowe on the strength of her impressive solo CD debut Secrets.

Crowe's gifts as a songwriter, pianist and powerhouse vocalist will not be secrets much longer -- word is spreading fast.

When a new artist emerges, the tendency is to compare her to established artists as a context for listeners. Crowe has already attracted a long list of comparisons -- Tori Amos, Chantal Kreviazuk, Alanis Morissette all seem to me to be valid, with the proviso that Crowe is very much her own artist.

With voice and piano in the foreground, Crowe performs with a soulful poignancy, spanning pop, folk, blues and jazz. All but two of the album's 11 tracks are original with the exception of Raining in Baltimore and Leonard Cohen's Joan of Arc, both of which receive inspired versions here.

Allison Crowe has taken flight.
- various (as noted)

"Artist Spotlight ~ Allison Crowe (March 2004)"

Allison Crowe may not be well-known now but this young woman has the voice and talent to be the next Alanis or Norah. The raw emotions in her hauntingly beautiful rendition of "Angel" should convince you of her potential.

Born and raised in Nanaimo, B.C., this small harbour city on Vancouver Island has a strong musical heritage and is home to the oldest continuous community band in Canada.

"I grew up surrounded by music. There was a lot of jazz, classical and rock, in both my immediate and my extended families," says Crowe, now 22. Her first public performance was at age six - belting out a big hit of the Jazz age, Ja-da (Ja-da Jing Jing Jing!).

In her pre-teens, Allison Crowe heard Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald albums spinning at home and carried this music into her school band and music theatre studies. She found a coach to help harness her vocal instrument and teachers to encourage her playing on piano, flute, bass and drums. By then, her parents' rock albums had been joined by her own collection, making for an eclecticism evident today in her music.

By age 15, Allison Crowe was playing to growing crowds in coffee-houses and bars up and down her island. "I love singing for people," she says. "It's a way to connect and share with others, which I think is very generally important for emotional survival. Communication is crucial. Just being able to do what I do, to write and sing and perform, makes me feel not only alive, but incredibly lucky, knowing at any moment everything could change, so that I don't take one second for granted."

In 1998, she won the VIEX Island Songbird Competition, topping 17 other vocalists. Her growth in the years since has been steady and remarkable. In 2002, the same year she completed her first national concert tour, she was a featured guest artist on the website of multi-platinum recording artist Jewel. Jewel's site stated: "Beautifully moody or riotously rocking, Allison Crowe creates piano-based music of transcendent quality."

Combining classical virtuosity with the improvisational qualities of jazz and the power and energy of gospel and rock at its most visceral, she's been called "a force of nature" by critics who've found her original voice impossible to pigeonhole. As one newspaper reviewer said of Crowe's sound: "Make your own comparisons, then forget them."

Music is as elemental to Allison Crowe as breathing. And she's grateful for the opportunities that music provides her - to contribute to the global causes of peace and justice, and to aid community-based groups dealing with various issues including mental health, anti-violence, cancer and MS.


Q: What does "peace" mean to you?

A: Peace means a certain sense of quiet. No violence. Using your brain instead of reacting with your fists. A state of mind and a statement of humanity.

Q: You're from Nanaimo, BC, Canada... home to another great Canadian talent, Diana Krall. Ever bump into her on the streets?

A: Can't say I've ever bumped into Diana, no! Though I did share a stage with her a couple of years ago for a television station opening concert/celebration, and that was really cool. I was the supporting act. And we do share a birthday, November 16th. I found that out by going online on my birthday and checking out the "famous birthdays". It was a bit shocking!

Q: At 22, you're probably one of the youngest songwriters/artists we have featured on our web site. I believe our oldest is Jane Heald at 72 years young. Do you think you'll be singing and writing songs 50 years from now?

A: I don't think that I have a choice in the matter. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I most definitely will be singing and writing songs 50 years from now. Whether it's just for myself or still for a living, I have to make music. It keeps me (somewhat) sane.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in your musical career?

A: I hope to be able to travel and see the world, and get to sing and play for people while doing it. I also hope to show that you can succeed by being yourself and not being afraid to take a stand. I also hope to be able to help people in need. I hope to give people something to relate to in my lyrics, to give them a voice.

Q: Last year, you walked away from a very lucrative record deal with a major recording company. What happened there?

A: We were in talks with a record company up until August of last year. Negotiations had started almost a year before. Near the end, it became apparent that they wanted to change my music, change me, and get rid of my band and manager. And I wasn't about to do that. So I basically said "no, thank you" and walked away. If someone wants me to be me, I'm happy to work with them. It didn't end with a deal but without exploring it, we would always have wondered if it could have worked. So, it was good experience.

Q: Who influenced you musically in your younger years and who do you look to for inspiration now?

A: I've studied classical piano and voice (and still do) but my original songs are based on a wide range of popular music genres. Beethoven is one of my favourite musicians (with a messed up life) and Leonard Cohen writes awesome lyrics. In my younger years, I listened to a lot of the same people that I do now; Tori Amos, Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Ani DiFranco. While in my REALLY younger years, I listened to Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits and Elton John as well; the rock that my parents listened to.

I'd say that Ani is a huge inspiration to me. I see her as a model of what I'd like to do with my career and how I'd like to do it. She has succeeded commercially while maintaining her autonomy and integrity. I've been told her case is the exception, not the rule in today's music industry but what if it was the rule? How great would that be?

Q: You had your own hour-long TV special on some Canadian channels a few months ago. What was that experience like?

A: In a word, it was SCARY. It was also completely amazing that the New VI (part of the CHUM media network) did that for us. We are so lucky and have been given so many great opportunities that it baffles my mind sometimes. The production experience was great as it helped us learn what to do and what not to do in the future. It was really great camera experience - something I don't have a lot of!

Q: You recently contributed a solo rendition of "Let It Be" to the "It Was 40 Years Ago Today" Beatles tribute compilation album and you recorded it in a single take. Are you a huge Beatles fan and is that your favourite Beatles song?

A: I am a huge Beatles fan but I'd have to say that, while it is one of my favourite Beatles songs, I don't think I could choose any one song as my favourite. I like the feeling of calm around "Let It Be". I'm also a fan of "Norwegian Wood", "I Am the Walrus" and "Across the Universe".

I like the Beatles because they were, basically, all great writers and their music is so universal. As an aside, one of my favourite songs when I was little was "I've Got My Mind Set On You" which I didn't realize was by George Harrison until just recently!

Q: As a treat to our readers, can you tell us something that you've never publicly admitted to before?

A: Dolphins and polar bears are my favourite animals. And at certain points of my life when I get stressed out, I wish I could be either of those. I also have a love for teddy bears; in particular, Care Bears and Sleepy Time Bear. And a favourite Ben and Jerry's ice-cream flavour is mint chocolate cookie.

I don't think I've ever publicly admitted to any of these things before but, I must say, I feel a lot better. And hungrier.

March 2004 - New Songs for Peace feature (Canada/USA)

"Allison Crowe's favourites ~ magazine feature (January 17, 2005)"

Music: Allison Crowe's favourites
John Intini, Macleans (Canada)
Monday, January 17, 2005

A little respect for some classic jazz

Allison Crowe's blend of blues, rock, gospel, pop and jazz
makes her a nightmare for music-store clerks paid to sort CDs. But her
debut, Secrets, earned the singer-songwriter from Nanaimo, B.C., much
acclaim. Crowe told Maclean's about her favourite jazz albums.

1. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, by Aretha
Franklin. "I'm particularly fond of the title track. And the album has
Respect! You can't go wrong."

2. Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You, by Chet Baker.
"I discovered Chet when I was very young, taking bass lessons. He has
such a unique voice and a tragic story. Great music if you're sad."

3. The Jazz Vocal Collection by various artists. "My
favourite tracks are Love Me or Leave Me by Nina Simone. I love the
classically infused jazz piano solo. And In Love in Vain by Gabrielle
Goodman -- just stand-up bass and a voice. Very sparse, very cool."


Here’s an out-take of that interview ~ with John Intini, Assistant Editor of Canada's national news and culture magazine, Maclean's ~ in which Allison reveals her top classic rock picks:

The Ocean - Led Zeppelin - “I grew up listening to quite a bit of Led Zeppelin, and I love everything to do with The Ocean, that is the ACTUAL ocean, so this track is a natural favourite of mine from the get go. Also, I quite enjoy the a cappella bridge of the song, with all the ‘La-La’s.”

Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin - “Piece of My Heart is a very, very close second, but I had to go with this one because it just rocks. The piano on this track and the rootsy rock feel are my favourite.”

The Weight - The Band - “Every time I hear this song I just kind of go ‘ahhhh’... and think, wow, I miss Woodstock. Those were the times. And then I remember I was born in 1981.”

“All Along the Watchtower - the Jimi Hendrix version would be my next pick”

:o) - John Intini, Macleans (Canada)

"Tidings ~ album reviews (Canada, USA+)"

CD Reviews/Playlist: Dr. Christmas' Radio Show
Dr. Gerry Grzyb, WRST-FM (USA)
Friday, December 24, 2004

** RECORDING OF EXCEPTIONAL MERIT (the show's highest ranking) - Tidings

"Allison Crowe's 'Tidings' showcases a powerful folk voice, opening with a goosebump-inducing a cappella 'It Came Upon A Midnight Clear'."

Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Gerry Grzyb, AKA Dr. Christmas, is cited as America's foremost authority on Christmas music ~ with an ear to good music of all genres. Each year since 1989 he's sifted through a mass of new seasonal releases, searching for the gems, outside the mainstream, that make the cut to be played on his radio show, an epic tradition broadcast on Wisconsin's WRST-FM.

Following his marathon (six-day) radio program this holiday season, "Dr. Christmas" wrote to say: "Of over 100 new Christmas CDs played on my show, Allison's drew the most listener interest."


Seasonal CD Reviews: Three of this festive season's offerings really stand out
Joseph Blake, The Times Colonist (Canada)
Sunday, December 19, 2004

What would the Christmas season be without a new crop of recordings? The bins are overflowing with seasonal CDs, but three of this year's output really stand out:

Young Nanaimo pop diva Allison Crowe's recently released Tidings collects surprisingly moving versions of traditional Christmas favourites such as Silent Night, In the Bleak Midwinter, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, The First Noel and O Holy Night and truly transcendent versions of Joni Mitchell's River and Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Crowe not only makes these Canadian treasures her own, she does almost as much with Lennon and McCartney's In My Life and Let It Be, the Stones' Shine a Light and Sarah McLachlan's Angel.

With each recording Crowe becomes a more stunning vocalist. She's got a very big voice, and she's learning how to use it to embody a song. This high concept seasonal sampler is a triumph. Highly recommended.


Tidings: CD Review
Sophia Gurley, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music (USA)
August 2006

Allison Crowe's powerhouse vocals are front and centre in these holiday and cover songs, giving them a lot of life and presence. In addition to the songs on the ep version, this includes: an impressive cover of Joni Mitchell's "River", two Beatles covers, and three additional carols. Ectophiles will find this a strong addition to their collection of seasonal albums. The combination of traditional carols with carefully selected covers is especially enjoyable.


Allison Crowe: Tidings
Cover Corner by Tom Weel: Beatles Unlimited (Netherlands)
May/June 2005 (BU 181)

Allison Crowe's name appeared on Art Monkey's compilation "It Was 40 Years Ago Today" (BU177) and here we have her own seasonal album, with some obvious traditionals (Silent Night, The First Noel, a.o.) The other somewhat contrasting half consists of two Leonard Cohen songs (including the fantastic Hallelujah) and tracks written by Joni Mitchell, the Stones and Beatles: In My Life and Let It Be, which also appeared in a slightly different version on the above mentioned sampler. In an acoustic setting, where she gently accompanies herself on piano (on only three tracks she's joined on bass and drums), her vocals are the most intriguing aspect on every track. She easily flows from dark, soulful and firm to an occasional high note (Mitchell's River) or long vocal draws (as proven in the final album track, a startling version of Sarah McLachlan's Angel). By giving Let It Be the gospel flavour it deserves and with an emotionally sung In My Life, the two Beatles songs fit very well in the album's concept. This all leads to only one conclusion: don't play this during Christmastime. play it the whole year through!


The Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Canada)
Arts, Saturday, December 18, 2004


Robert Reid


Allison Crowe (Rubenesque Records/Festival)

The Yuletide find of the year goes to Nanaimo-based singer/songwriter Allison Crowe for Tidings.

What makes the album so wonderful is not only Crowe's powerfully soulful vocals and accomplished piano playing, but the inspired repertoire spanning traditional six carols and contemporary songs with a spiritual dimensions.

Joining such beloved carols as Silent Night and In the Bleak Winter are Joni Mitchell's River, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, Lennon and McCartney's Let It Be and In My Life, Jagger and Richard's Shine a Light and Sarah McLachlan's Angel, all of which make for an absolutely stunning seasonal album that can be enjoyed year-round.

In keeping with the simplicity, elegance and intimacy of the season, all but two tracks feature Crowe accompanying herself on piano, with a bass and drums added on two tracks.

Following so closely after Secrets, released on Crowe's own label a few months ago, Tidings confirms the arrival of a recording artist who has what it takes to climb to the highest echelons of Canadian, if not international, pop music.


Hum for the holidays: CD Reviews
Jane Stevenson, The Toronto Sun (Canada)
Sunday, December 19, 2004




**** (four stars)

On this expanded version of a 2003 holiday EP of the same name, this 22-year-old Nanaimo, B.C., singer-pianist evokes a lot of emotion with her strong, trembling voice that suits rock, gospel and blues. Check out the opening a capella version of It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. Otherwise, a mostly unadorned Crowe plays piano -- she's joined by bass and drums on three tracks -- and expertly tackles both Christmas classics and less traditional homegrown songs like Joni Mitchell's River, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and Sarah McLachlan's Angel and makes them her own.

(NB In its holiday CD round-up, The Toronto Sun gave four stars to only two releases - Tidings from Allison Crowe, and The Christmas Collection from Frank Sinatra. Other discs covered in this same review included releases from such well-known acts as Chris Isaak 3 1/2 stars, Vanessa Williams, Matt Dusk, and Barenaked Ladies whose offerings each received 3 stars, Jessica Simpson - 1 star and William Hung 1/2 star.)


Tinsel Tunes
Robert Moyes, Monday Magazine (Canada)
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It's that bittersweet time of year when wishful music writers slip bright and shiny discs into the CD tray in the hopes that bright and shiny seasonal tunes will emerge. But, as always, the recordings under review range from naughty to nice.

And for the big finish, ringing out clear as a Christmas bell, we have Nanaimo's sublime Allison Crowe, who has reissued and redoubled last year's Tidings. This new version jumps from six to 12 tunes, but still maintains stark production values, with Allison providing voice and piano, while getting minimal backup via bass and drums on just three cuts. There are a few actual Christmas songs such as "O Holy Night" and "The First Noel," but mostly Crowe selects apropos pop songs (such as Joni Mitchell's "River," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," The Beatles' "Let It Be" and the Jagger-Richards tune "Shine A Light") and presents them as contemporary embodiments of spiritual yearning. Crowe has the soaring, swooping vibrato of a dark angel and will give any music lover
a sultry blast of Christmas cheer.

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas


Soundscapes: Cool Yule Tunes
Stephen Cooke, The Halifax Herald (Canada)
Saturday, December 11, 2004

Barenaked Ladies, Isaak, Crowe put out holiday discs

WITH A HEALTHY CROP of East Coast Christmas CDs this year - from Terry Kelly, RyLee Madison, Louisa Manuel and Urban Surf Kings - one would hope that national and international acts would be able to match that quota, and darned if there aren't some fun and festive recordings that make this one of the better years for holiday music buffs.

B.C. singer-songwriter Allison Crowe also gets bonus points for tackling Joni Mitchell's River on her CD Tidings (Rubenesque Records), and adding her own flavour to it on this spectral recording that is mostly just voice and piano, with bass and drums on only a few tracks.

Besides traditional numbers like In the Bleak Midwinter and The First Noel, Crowe goes beyond the Christmas canon to include Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and The Beatles' Let It Be as pop spirituals, plus a gutsy Shine a Light from the greatest rock and roll album of all time, The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. It's earned the stamp of approval from the Stones' official fan club, which should bring some new listeners to this tremendous Nanaimo talent.


Tidings: Album Review
Gina Morris, E.O.M. (Evolution of Media - USA)
Friday, December 10, 2004

Allison Crowe is a versatile singer/songwriter from Canada who has recorded a fine Christmas album, Tidings. The possessor of a powerful voice that evokes Eva Cassidy and Laura Nyro simultaneously, Allison sings the hell out of this collection of traditional and non-traditional yuletide classics.

What's great about this album is that while some of the usual Christmas song suspects are here--"Silent Night", "The First Noel", "O Holy Night"--there are also some inspired choices, like the Beatles' "Let It Be" and "In My Life" and the Rolling Stones' "Shine A Light", that aren't Christmas songs but fit the spiritual-ness of the occasion. And with just her voice and skillful piano playing, Allison gets right to the heart of these songs with a clarity lacking in many singers today; although, she does give "Shine A Light" a suitably rocking treatment and adds bass and drums to "O Holy Night", it's the piano/voice combo that impresses.

With Tidings, Allison Crowe proves that she is a singer worth keeping an ear out for and, in addition, she has produced one of the least sentimental, and highly listenable Christmas themed albums of recent times. Oh, and her debut album of original songs, Secrets, is pretty nifty too.


It's a great holiday for your stereo
Tom Harrison, The Province (Canada)
Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Last year, Nanaimo's Allison Crowe released a seasonal EP that she's now extended to a full-length LP. Featuring her stirring singing and piano accompaniment, Tidings (independent, B) is a marvelously thoughtful album that includes a few traditional songs as well as Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and the Stones' "Shine a Light".


Arts: CD Review
Sarah Towle, The Martlet, Volume 57, Issue 16 (Canada)
Thursday, December 2 2004

Holiday Tidings

I know what you're thinking: Christmas CDs are lame. But hear me out. This one's different. Honest.

Nanaimo's singer/songwriter and pianist Allison Crowe provides a raw and off-beat collection of Christmas songs that she makes her own.

The CD begins with an a cappella version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," which shows off her vocal range and intense vibrato. She pays tribute to many Canadian musicians with songs such as Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and Joni Mitchell's "River."

As well, Crowe includes other non-traditional, but still seasonal, songs such as the Lennon-McCartney creations "Let it Be" and "In My Life," and the Rolling Stones' "Shine A Light."

And, for good measure, a few traditional songs arranged by Crowe are thrown into the mix: "Silent Night," "What Child Is This," "The First Noel" and "O Holy Night." Crowe's colourful voice, along with her fluid and polished piano playing, makes each track unique. Plus, the simplistic combination of voice, piano and the occasional tambourine proves a refreshing change from cheesy back-up choirs and synthesizers often heard in Christmas tunes.


Tidings CD Review
Jennifer Patton, Delusions of Adequacy (USA)
November 29, 2004

Tis the season for packed malls, angry shoppers, and Christmas music. It seems anywhere you go from mid-November on, your ears will be bombarded with techno-carols and muzak versions of traditional pieces. It's enough to make even those most filled with the joy of the season feel overwhelmed - and let's not even get started on those of us who don't celebrate Christmas at all. Like me.

Some may think it's odd to be a non-Christian writing about a Christmas album, but I like Allison Crowe, and Tidings isn't any old holiday disc. On this release, Allison offers up a mix of traditional hymns as well as a selection of covers all beautifully enveloped in her unique style. There are no hokey gimmicks and no cutesy kids' songs. Best of all, there is enough of a blend of styles that you won't find yourself bored at any point or on spiritual music overload.

The album begins with an excellent a capella version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," which immediately showcases her silky but strong voice. This moves quickly into a version of Joni Mitchell's "River," which is a hit just for being included, but Allison approaches the song by accompanying herself on piano and with tons of finesse. This is a simply beautiful track that fits just as easily with a spiritual album as it would a folk record.

Crowe's other more modern covers include Leonard Cohen's "Hallellujah," Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," the Rolling Stones' "Shine a Light," and "Let it Be" and "In My Life," both by the Beatles. The Cohen and McLachlan tunes are starkly stunning pieces that blend perfectly with the theme of Tidings. The Beatles songs fit as well, but it's important to note that Crowe really makes these her own, whereas so many musicians come off like karaoke singers when attempting to tackle anything from the Fab Five catalog.

Allison's approach for the other hymns is one of sheer simplicity. She is complemented on three tracks by David Baird (bass) and Kevin Clevette (drums), but everything else is just her and a piano with a little bit of tambourine. You will find the more familiar such as "Silent Night" and "The First Noel" side by side with the unusual "In the Bleak Midwinter" and "What Child is This?" All are presented with such poise and exquisiteness that you can't help but feel inspired.

While Tidings is definitely a Christmas album, there is clearly quite a bit for most people to enjoy here. This would make a perfect backdrop to any holiday party or even just for a quiet winter night in front of a roaring fire. If you celebrate Christmas, this is one release that should be in your stereo for many Decembers to come.


Tidings: CD Review
Teri McIntyre, Empowerment4Women (USA)
November/December 2004

If you are looking for something a little different this year in terms of a Christmas album, Tidings by Allison Crowe certainly fits the bill. This e.p., composed of covers of traditional and modern seasonal hymns, is a wonderful addition to the more obvious fare people choose to play at that time of the year.

For traditional tracks, Crowe begins with the classic "Silent Night," rendering its delicate structure with a deep warmth and spirit. The same goes for "O Holy Night." "In The Bleak of Winter" sports a more pop arrangement that is equally inviting.

For modern tracks, Crowe creatively selected three imaginative tracks. She wraps her impressive vocals around the Leonard Cohen favorite "Hallelujah" to create a thunderously moving aural experience. Next, Crowe tackles The Rolling Stones "Shine A Light," a track from their Exile On Main Street album. She brings forth a powerful sense of redemption from the lyrics that is highly engaging. Rounding out the album is a "live off the floor" rendition of Sarah McLachlan's maudlin "Angel." Crowe manages to give the song a refreshing, blown-out emotional take that, for some, may surpass the original.

Crowe may have intended the album to be a seasonal experience, but the great arrangements and her memorable vocals make Tidings an album worthy of repeated play all year round.


Allison Crowe - pick of the day/week
Record of the Day (UK)
August 3, 2004

In August, 2004, the London, England-based music industry source, Record of the Day, selected Allison Crowe's version of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" as its record of the day and week, telling its audience:

"Bet you thought you heard all the versions you need to hear of this song, right? Think again, because Allison Crowe has a voice to fall in love with. She is from Vancouver Island in Canada, descended from Irish and Manx stock. She's exactly the sort of artist who can make serious headway on her own label and that's just what she's doing."

(Record of the Day is a prognosticator of musical talent, and has tipped people early to such artists as Damien Rice, The Darkness, Keane and The Black Eyed Peas.)


From Fragmentation to Wholeness
Shirley Goldberg, Mo Magazine (Canada)
April 2004

In the final number, Allison Crowe at the piano joined Crimson Coast's Holly Bright for a radiant, rousing, celebratory rendition of Leonard Cohen's lovely "Hallelujah," with Holly's graceful, expansive movements providing the visual corollary for Allison's full, vibrant voice, completing the circle, merging body and spirit, body and mind.


Allison Crowe: Artist Spotlight
New Songs for Peace Project (International)
March 2004

"Allison Crowe may not be well-known now but this young woman has the voice and talent to be the next Alanis or Norah. The raw emotions in her hauntingly beautiful rendition of 'Angel' should convince you of her potential."


Tidings: CD Review
Carol Swanson, (USA)
Friday, October 22 2004

What a find! Tidings is an exceptional holiday album, and Canadian Allison Crowe is a stunningly talented performer. Her voice celebrates the music with a bluesy rock-gospel intensity; her controlled vibrato, silken rasp, and powerful projection rivet your attention. This is no casual background music for your holiday party; be prepared to be amazed.

For the most part, this album is all about Crowe's spectacular, unique voice and her exceptional piano playing. Given her incredible vocal power, the minimal production provides just the right showcase. She easily fills the room with soulful energy all on her own. On three tracks (#4, 10 & 11), Crowe gets some fine support from two friends on bass (David Baird) and drums (Kevin Clevette). The artist's vocal delivery is so intense, one wonders how Crowe retains the energy to provide piano accompaniment. In fact, her piano abilities are so natural--so personal--that the keyboard seems to operate as an organic extension of her body, just another "voice" emanating from her musical soul.

Somebody pinch me--the song selections here are outrageously fine--a folk rocker's paradise! To start, there are six lovely pillars of traditional holiday music ("Silent Night," It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," etc.). Then things truly take off--Crowe includes Joni Mitchell's "River," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," two songs by the Beatles (the John Lennon/Paul McCartney tunes of "Let It Be" and "In My Life"), one Rolling Stones number ("Shine a Light" by Mick Jagger/Keith Richards), and Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." Although these tracks stray from the holiday path most commonly tread, each cut relates to spirituality on its own terms, and the overall package works in grand fashion. Interestingly, although Crowe is herself an acclaimed songwriter, she has penned no holiday numbers here. Perhaps next year.

The artist opens with an unadorned, a cappella presentation of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," then rolls cleanly into an intensely moving rendition of "River," one of my favorite holiday tunes. When the artist sings the crystalline, sorrowful line "I made my baby cry," you can almost feel the tears welling up inside. Crowe's wonderful "Hallelujah" is an absolute show-stopper. To be honest, this album is packed with highlights from stem to stern. Every song radiates sincerity, creative flair, and emotional intensity.

No doubt about it--Tidings is one of the best holiday albums this year. If you crave folk/rock music that speaks from the heart, invite Allison Crowe into your home this Christmas season. She's sensational! - various (as noted)

""All aboard" ~ news article (June 1, 2006)"

All aboard

Singer Allison Crowe comes rolling into Halifax from Nanaimo via Newfoundland. Shannon Webb-Campbell catches a ride on the entertainment car.

Shannon Webb-Campbell, The Coast, June 1, 2006 (Canada)

VIA Rail passenger Allison Crowe makes a triangle pit stop in Halifax this week. The menage a trois spreads from Thursday to Saturday, as she appears June 1 at Fairview Heights Elementary School, June 2 at The Music Room and June 3 at Pilot House Cafe and Cottages in Boutilier's Point.

"I've been touring by train for couple of weeks now," says Crowe, calling from Montreal. "My manager Adrian and I had been toying with the idea for awhile. We proposed the idea to VIA Rail and got quite lucky as they've given us their full support, which really helped us in terms of finance."

Crowe is currently travelling from coast to coast with her railroad tour dubbed Rock 'n' Rail Revue. The trek began with a Mother's Day celebration on Track 29 at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver and is scheduled to come to an end at the St. John's fine dining/jazz establishment Bianca's on Water Street.

"Being on the train has been quite the experience," she says. "It's such a great way to see the country. The highlights for me really have been performing and being on the train."

Opposing sides of the country seem to be a theme in Crowe's life, as the Nanaimo, British Columbia, native has recently moved to Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

"I now call Newfoundland home," she says. "My boyfriend is from there. When I'm not touring, I'm recording, and my gear is portable so it made sense for me to move. There is such a similarity in people of coastal communities, as the scenery is beautiful and the people are friendly. Aside from winter, it's not a huge difference from Vancouver Island."

Weather conditions and Screech-ins aside, this honorary Newfoundlander has the voice of a heavenly creature with quite a knack for the porcelain keys.

"I've been performing since I was 16. It's hard to believe that it will soon be 10 years, I feel so old," she says. "I'm classically trained and still take vocal lessons and have taught myself some jazz piano."

At 24 years old, Crowe has a burgeoning career and boasts a handful of albums, including the self-released Live at Wood Hall and Christmas-themed collection Tidings, Secrets and Lisa's Song + 6 songs on her label Rubenesque Records. Her most recent effort, This Little Bird, is due later this year.

"Basically the album is named after the title track 'This Little Bird,'" says Crowe. "Usually I tend to be more metaphorical with my lyrics but this one is pretty bare-boned. It's about me and moving to Newfoundland. There is a lot more instrumentation on this album, as it's my first release with a full band."

Crowe's railroad tour has her stopping in a variety of nooks and crannies in Canadian cities and exploring various forms of music, from originals to cover songs. Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Counting Crows, The Beatles and Pearl Jam are the map-makers of this nightingale's journey of song.

"I've been performing a lot of my own songs," she says. "I've recently been playing a few songs on guitar. I'm really into Cohen's 'Hallelujah,' Aretha Franklin's 'I Never Loved a Man', the Lovin' Spoonful's 'Darling Be Home Soon' and Joni Mitchell's 'A Case of You.'"

Each Halifax show will feature a different highlight: Crowe's performance on June 1 at Fairview Heights is part of the school's Pizza and Piano program, her show at The Music Room on June 2 will feature Fairview Heights' 30-piece choir and the weekend will close with an intimate seaside show at Pilot House.

"A lot of the shows on this tour have been really intimate, with a more cabaret feeling," she says. "Each night has been very different, with intervals of travelling by train throughout the day."

Once the train conductor blows the final whistle, Crowe will return home to her sweetheart in Corner Brook. She hopes to continue chugging along the familiar tracks of writing, recording and performing music.

"I drawn inspiration from my life and what's going on around me," she says. "My songwriting is really much like a journal. It's who I am." - Shannon Webb-Campbell, The Coast (Canada)

"Lisa's Song+ 6 Songs ~ album reviews (Canada, USA+)"

This LittleBird
Sophia Gurley, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music (USA)
August, 2006

Ecto priority:

"Lisa's Song" is a beautiful, powerful song for a young woman, Lisa Marie Young, who went missing from Nanaimo, B.C. in June 2002, and proceeds from the sale of the CD go to help fund the search for her. Unlike other songs I've heard written for such occasions, this is a real song, and not a clichéd, didactic, flat tirade—this is a song worth listening to for itself and not just its message. "Fade Away" is a quieter song, though still urgent as are all Allison Crowe's songs. "Midnight" swings from gentle, optimistic verse to full-out impassioned chorus. "Crayon and Ink" has a yearning beginning, again breaking into a passionate conclusions, as does "Dark Blue". "Scared" is brave enough to start quietly, to build and then again to fade. "Philosophy" starts and ends with the most insistent kind of percussion—a fitting backdrop for the extravagant gymnastics of Allison Crowe's vocals here. Overall, this is an amazingly strong debut. (


Tidings, 6 Songs+
Derrick Marr, Great White Noise (Canada)
Monday, February 9, 2004

6 Songs + is as good an introduction to an artist as you are ever going to get. Allison Crowe (vocals/piano), together with Dave Baird (electric and acoustic bass) and Kevin Clevette (drums and percussions) have recorded a CD rich with lyrical content in which Allison has managed to merge writing skills with vocals that cover every note on the scale, and probably some that aren’t. Musically, the trio is as tight as any I have heard, each rendering a flawless performance.

There will be the obvious comparisons to the songs styles of Sarah McLachlan, and, in truth, there are similarities, but that in no way should be taken as meaning there is any intentional formula following. It is simply the case of two women with beautiful voices sharing a passion for a somewhat laid back, jazz based style of pop rock.

Born in Nanaimo B.C., also coincidently the hometown of Diana Krall, Allison was exposed to music from a very young age. She quickly developed a love of jazz music and by the age of 15 found herself playing to audiences up and down Vancouver Island.

Tidings is a similar listening experience, this time wrapped pleasantly in the guise of a Christmas CD. The songs selected and recorded for this disc, however, ensure that it is far more than simply something listened to once or twice a year. Combining traditional Christmas classics such as Silent Night and O Holy Night, with lesser known or thought of works such as Hallellujah, In The Bleak Midwinter and Shine A Light, and even a version of the non-Christmas, yet inspirational Sarah McLachlan hit Angel, Allison has released a CD that is a pleasure to listen to both during the Yule season and any other time of the year.

True “vocalists” are seldom stumbled across in this age of nu-metal, hip-hop, rap, or any of the other multitude of genre fragments. Sometimes it seems like the art of writing a good song is lost. In the rush to get the next all-elusive hit, many talents have fallen by the wayside and have perhaps forgotten what started them on this path in the first place. To date it seems like Allison has held true to her origins. Only time will tell if this remains the case, but personally I’m thinking there are going to be many, many more insightful and beautiful songs emerging from within the young lady from Nanaimo.


The best local CDs of 2003
Nanaimo News Bulletin (Canada)
Monday, December 22, 2003

Tired of Top 40? Then consider...

Allison Crowe
Lisa’s Song+ 6 Songs

Allison Crowe first played Lisa's Song at a candlelight vigil for her missing friend, Lisa Marie Young. Shedding her initial shyness over the tribute, Crowe has re-recorded it and released it and six other songs as a fundraiser for the continuing search for Young. Lisa's Song has distinguished itself as one of Crowe's finest - a powerful and emotional song matched equally by Crowe's incredible vocals.


6 Songs+
Amy Lotsberg, Collected Sounds (USA)
October 8, 2002

The first track on CD will not blow you away; in fact, you may not even be able to hear it very well. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but the sound is mixed so low that it's almost inaudible.

The second track "Midnight" however, will blow you away. This song is as good as any Vanessa Carlton song and in fact reminds me a tad of her vocally. I guess that's why it is on the CD twice, the second time being labeled, "the single".

The Allison takes it down to a more lyrical and flowing tone with "Crayon and Ink". A beautiful song that showcases both her voice and her piano playing, both excellent.

This is a solid debut and a very good way to get attention in the music industry, which she seems to have happened since she's been noticed by MTV Canada where she has appeared performing her song, "Crayon and Ink" in October 4, 2002.


Voice could take Allison Crowe to the next level

Duncan Clark, Associate Editor, Kamloops Daily News (Canada)
July 2002

Allison Crowe, if she were signed to a major label, would fit in well with a music trend of the moment - she’s young, has a great voice and writes her own songs.

Crowe, like it girls Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton, writes about love heartbreak, and her songs give her every opportunity to show off that soulful voice.

But B.C. artist Crowe, who performed recently in Kamloops, is not signed to a major label, and admirably goes it alone on her independently released EP 6 Songs.

Crowe is more Carlton than Lavigne on 6 Songs, but the B.C. artist really sounds like a cross between Fiona Apple and Jewel.

6 Songs rarely goes up-tempo, so this is definitely a CD for a certain melancholy, low-key, mood. This is a fault - Crowe’s voice, with plenty of range, rarely gets a chance to sound like it’s having fun like it should.

Still, Crowe shows plenty of promise. Her piano compositions fit perfectly with her melodies and singing, and her backup performers provide great accompaniment - they know they’re not the stars, Crowe is.

It can be a long way from B.C. to the big time, but if Crowe wants to get there, one gets a feeling the concept is anything but out of the question.


NEW GUEST ARTIST: ALLISON CROWE (Official Website of Jewel Kilcher - USA)
May 26, 2002

Allison is featured as guest artist on Jewel’s website, in a section "dedicated to folks we love. We're sure you'll love them, too. They've all been slathered with generous portions of talent, heart, soul — so what's not to love?" Here's what the site says:

Beautifully moody or riotously rocking, Allison Crowe creates piano-based music of transcendent quality. A 20 year old singer/songwriter based in British Columbia, her voice, poetic and haunting, is a modern original. Allison is reaching new audiences this year with her debut album, ‘midnight syren.’ She’s been called ‘a mega-talent in the making’ and her music is a testament to the power of the human voice and spirit.


Once again, it's our great pleasure to invite you to experience a new guest artist at Our newest musician to be featured is emerging singer-songwriter Allison Crowe, a Canadian from Nanaimo, British Columbia. Although Allison is young and yet to release her first full-length album, she caught my attention, because not only was her voice captivating, I found her songwriting to have remarkable depth. Her voice, poetic and haunting, is a modern original at the same time as it recalls rock's greats of the '60s and '70s.

Much like the way many people felt upon hearing Jewel during her InnerChange days, when listening to Allison's music, one recognizes the obvious great potential there and feels lucky to be experiencing her at this point in time. She's been called "a mega-talent in the making" and her music is a testament to the power of the human voice and spirit.

We invite you to learn more about Allison and experience her music for yourself. From the main navigation page on, click "favorites." This will bring you to our newest guest artist feature.

If you've yet to investigate this area of Jewel's web site, we highly recommend that you do! After checking out Allison's feature, spend some time in our guest artist archive. You will discover many other great artists, both emerging and established, who might not get the press attention they deserve, but are nonetheless, extremely worthy of your attention. -MrBB


Artist of the Week: Allison Crowe (Canada)
March 9, 2002

"Falling somewhere between Sarah McLachlan and Fiona Apple, B.C. native Allison Crowe's career is in an upward swing. An extremely gifted classically trained artist Allison has much to offer. Check out the beautifully moody Crayons And Ink ("10 out of 10") off the 6 Songs CD."


Vicki Gabereau, Gabereau TV Talk Show (Canada)
January 28, 2002

"Ain't she something! Allison Crowe. She has a debut CD called '6 Songs'. You don't sound like anybody else, honey. Nobody sounds like you."


Nanaimo's Allison Crowe Releases A CD
Terry Denomme, The Harbour City Star (Canada)
Saturday, October 27, 2001

Many comparisons will be made concerning Nanaimo’s Allison Crowe. Some will say her voice has a dreamy quality reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan or Beth Orton. When she really wails you might be tempted to think about Janis Joplin. Make your own comparisons, then forget them.

There is a reason why this diminutive singer/songwriter with the big, big voice sold out her show Friday night at the Bailey Theatre and will be performing again tonight. She can flat out sing, as her first disc, 6 Songs, will attest. She also plays piano, wrote and composed all the songs and designed the cover art. She opens the disc with the soulful Fade Away and ends with the jumping Philosophy. Not long ago you could see her play for free at The Queens. Those days are over. A passionate, polished disc.


Allison Crowe - 6 Songs.
Katrina Sark, The Martlet (Canada)
October 10, 2001

Strong voice. A skillful hand running over the piano keys. Jazzy bass. Drum beat that makes your body want to move. 6 Songs is a glimpse of a rosy dawn over the ocean when driving along Dallas Road. It is the turquoise water mingling the pebbles. It is also the dark blue water clear by midnight. This is the image you get at first sight. At second glance you see two worlds - the dreamy world of oceans, skies, hope and fantasy - and the other world, resembling reality, filled with thoughts, feelings, expectations, even anger.

Somewhere a broken heart, sometime a star falling, somehow finding a path. It's a glimpse worth taking if you are one of those people who get moved by sunsets, the sound of the waves, and ocean breeze. So plunge in. Allison Crowe is performing in Victoria on October 13 at the Victoria Conservatory of Music (907 Pandora Avenue) at 8 p.m. (Drive along Dallas just before the show and take a glimpse - you will see what I mean.) - various (as noted)

"Live at Wood Hall ~ album reviews (Canada, USA+)"

Live at Wood Hall: CD Review
Sophia Gurley, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music (USA)
August 2006

This is a two-disc recording of Allison Crowe performing solo over two nights. The recording quality is good, especially for a live concert. She mostly sings her own songs, but does a few covers, including: Ani DiFranco's "Independence Day"; "Bill" from the musical, Showboat; "In Love in Vain" from Centennial Summer (another Jerome Kern song); "Counting Crows' "A Murder of One"; and on the first night ends with the traditional Irish tune "Believe Me If All". The next night she covers: Tori Amos' "Playboy Mommy"; "I Dreamed A Dream" (from Les Mis); John Lennon's "Imagine"; and Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" (which has as much passion and power as Janis Joplin's version). The focus is always on her vocals, which drive songs into consistently powerful, passionate regions, even when she's singing quietly. Her own songwriting stands up well against the covers. She certainly has every bit of ability, talent, and passion she needs to have a long career


Live with Allison
Bruce von Stiers, BVS Reviews: Rock/Jazz (USA)
December 2005

There is no easy way to describe the magnitude of the talent of Allison Crowe. This pianist / vocalist has gathered a bunch of awards and a ton of fans since her career began. Her music has been compared to Sarah McLachlan, Jewel and several other top female artists. But to put her in a box like that isn't quite fair. Allison has her own unique style.

This young Canadian, she is in early 20's, has been playing to audiences since her early teens. From coffeehouses to large concert hall and even television specials, Allison has honed her talents so once you hear her, you will become an instant fan.

Allison recorded a live album that has a lot of people talking about it. This album was recorded at Wood Hall, the converted chapel at the Conservatory of Music in Victoria , British Columbia. The title of the album is Live at Wood Hall.

This is actually a double live album with two discs. You get about two hours of beautiful vocals and tremendous piano music. Allison wrote several of the songs that she performs.

Interspersed with the songs are bits with Allison talking to the audience. She is witty and creates an instant connection with the audience.

The first disc starts out with a song that Allison wrote called There Is. It s a beautiful song that has strong vocals and wonderful piano.

The next song is By Your Side. It is another song that Allison wrote. The intro sounds somewhat like Journey's Faithfully. Now there is vast difference between the ‘80's rock ballad and Allison's song, but the piano music is similar in spots.

Bill is from the musical Showboat. Allison leads into the song by talking about seeing a Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera. She mentions something about an explosion on stage and pondered whether there was a new phantom each performance. The song allows Allison's penchant for show tunes to shine through.

Allison does a pretty good job of covering Ani DiFranco's Independence Day. She also has some fun with Jerome Kern's jazzy tune, In Love In Vain.

The traditional air, Believe Me If All, is beautifully done as the last song on the first disc.

The second disc holds some originals songs along with some delightfully unexpected covers.

The first song on the second disc is Crayon and Ink. It is a slow ballad with heart rending vocals and haunting piano. Another strong piece is Pray For Rain.

You are sure to like Allison's cover of the Tori Amos song, Playboy Mommy. Her inflections are the same at Tori's but the voice is distinctly different. This makes it as much Allison's song as Tori's.

Allison tackles another Broadway tune with I Dreamed A Dream.

The last two songs on the second disc are both covers. There is John Lennon's Imagine. The other song is Me and Bobby McGee. I haven't heard very many covers of Imagine. Allison does a good job of capturing the essence of the Lennon's music. As for Me and Bobby McGee, I have heard a lot of people do this song. But I haven't heard anything like Allison's version before. Allison puts a whole different spin on the song by changing the inflection on several keys word in the verses. This indeed makes a different type of cover and lets Allison assume ownership of the song.

If you get the chance to listen to Allison Crowe, you will see what people all over Canada, parts of the U.S. and fans around the world are talking about. Allison is a world class pianist and vocalist. You will have to go a long ways to find someone who is so young and yet so talented.


torrid quarry
Trevor Raggatt, Wears The Trousers (UK)
October 18, 2005
Allison Crowe
Live At Wood Hall
Rubenesque Records

Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe's personal mantra adorns the cover of her latest album. That simple maxim is "Why music?" "Why breathing?", so personal is her connection with the music she writes and performs. This new record, her fourth in total, documents a two-night stand at the Robin & Winifred Wood Recital Hall in Victoria, British Columbia in March 2005, taking in twenty-three songs performed live in front of a small but fortunate audience. Crowe was born and raised on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo, a town with two prior claims to musical fame - firstly, for having a deep heritage in brass band music stemming from its coal mining history, and secondly, for being the birthplace of jazz chanteuse, Diana Krall. Fortunately, Allison Crowe has forsaken the former influence and, despite being a talented piano player and singer and sharing stages with Krall, has taken a different musical route and mines very separate sonic seams. Her piano playing often perfectly complements the mood of each song, whether she is tracing delicate arpeggios and melodies or delivering bombastic chordal backing.

This double-disc set amply demonstrates Crowe's profound skill both as a writer and as an interpreter of other peoples' songs, the performances dripping with emotion as she wrings meaning out of both the words and music. Her own compositions range from simple, tender love songs (There Is, By Your Side) to insightful social commentary (Whether I'm Wrong, Disease), and all are delivered in a contemporary style. However, it is perhaps her cover versions that are most revealing of Allison Crowe, and a diverse selection they are too, ranging from her personal favourites and influences (Tori Amos' Playboy Mommy, DiFranco's classic Independence Day and A Murder Of One by Counting Crows) to showtunes Bill and I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables, via the oft-covered Imagine and Me & Bobby McGee. It's the Counting Crows cover that really highlights her skills as an interpreter. Crowe strips the song back to its skeleton and delivers a performance that completely convinces. In her version, the refrain "All your life is such a shame, shame, shame/All your love is just a dream, dream, dream/Open up your eyes" is utterly divorced from the original's lightly hopeful interpretation, becoming instead a cry of pure despair from a heart that can see clearly the life which she is missing. It's a heart-rending tour de force.

Live At Wood Hall easily holds the listener's attention throughout its near 110-minute duration, but whilst it has certain claims on the status of masterpiece, it is perhaps a flawed one. Although Crowe's vocal ability and accuracy are beyond reproach (her use of portamento to attain certain notes is exquisite and has a hugely powerful effect that she wisely resists overusing), there are moments where she fails to reach the odd high note. However, this is completely forgivable in the live context of the album. Larry Anschell's production and engineering serve to give a transparent and intimate document of the concerts - this is no ProTool'd and AutoTuned plastic pop opus but a real musician creating a real performance. Where Crowe's tuning is a little errant, it is not because of a lack of ability, but rather because raw emotion seems to overwhelm the technical aspects of the delivery. Another nice technical touch is that all of the applause and intros are recorded as separate tracks, thereby allowing the listener to edit them out with some nifty programming if they so wish.

The greatest difficulty with Crowe's singing is perhaps most obvious on the Jerome Kern/PG Wodehouse showtune, Bill. While hers is a magnificent interpretation, bringing the song slap bang into the 21st Century, it also over-emphasises her extraordinary vibrato, a technique that is usually used subtly to bring additional depth to a performance. However, when Crowe switches that internal button, it is anything but subtle. Very rapid, deep and with a "square-wave" quality, she turns it on and off like a tremolo effect pedal rather than fading it into sustained passages. On initial listens, this can be rather distracting - too often I was listening to the vibrato rather than the music - but subsequent auditions lessen the shock of the new. A flaw, true, but not a fatal one!

Overall, Live At Wood Hall is a worthy document of a pair of extraordinary performances. More than that though, it's an album that suggests that this young woman from an obscure mining town in Canada is only at the beginning of a long and successful career.


Luna Kafé record review (Europe)

Canada - Full Moon 109 - 08/19/05
Allison Crowe
Live at Wood Hall
Rubenesque Records

Allison Crowe's debut Secrets was an excellent record and, this double
live cd sees the singer alone at the piano. The material is a mix of
originals and covers. Opener "This Is" sees her display considerable
vocal firepower to a neat backing. Ani DiFranco's "Independence Day"
gets a lovely reading. "Sea of a Million Faces" from the debut gets a
jaunty musical reading. Crowe's singing of loneliness suits the backing
oddly enough.

Two songs by Jerome Kern, "Bill" and "In Love in Vain" get inspired
versions before disc 1 is over. What both discs prove is the sheer power
of Crowe's singing. She can belt with the best of them, but she also
knows when to hold back. Disc 2's version of "Imagine" could easily have
been over-sung but she lets the words resonate instead. Her take on Tori
Amos' "Playboy Mommy" is another gem. "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les
Miserables is heart-rending.

This record is as great as live discs can get and I think Crowe would be
great to see for real.

Copyright © 2005 Anna Maria Stjärnell


Album Review
Jennifer Patton, Delusions of Adequacy (USA)
August 16 2005

This time around, the ever prolific Allison Crowe treats fans to a double-disc live album recorded in March 2005 at Victoria, British Columbia's Conservatory of Music. Live at Wood Hall is a voyage through Crowe's concert repertoire and offers up plenty of original tunes as well as a wide range of cover songs in a variety of styles. Armed only with her piano and stellar voice, Allison Crowe delivers a performance of superb quality that belies her young age.

The overall focus of Allison Crowe's music is her voice and lyrics - and what a voice it is! Crowe has a strong and chillingly beautiful but decidedly feminine set of pipes, and it seems she can sing just about anything. There are plenty of ballads, including the anthem-like "There Is" and "Pray for Rain," as well a jazz ("In Love in Vain") and Broadway ("Bill, I Dreamed a Dream"). Although much of Allison's writing focuses on passion, hope, and love, some of Allison's originals, like "Whether I 'm Wrong" and "Disease" are infused with social commentary.

The cover songs on Live at Wood Hall are all well chosen to highlight Crowe's voice, and yet she still manages to give each a bit of personal spin. Allison gives Ani DiFranco's "Independence Day" a sense of urgency not found in the original, while her version of the Counting Crows' "A Murder of One" becomes more haunting and sincere. Her take on Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" gets a refreshing spin on the piano, while Tori Amos' "Playboy Mommy" sounds completely at home with Allison's style. Still, perhaps the most breathtaking moment is the a capella rendition of the Irish traditional "Believe Me if All" that perfectly caps off the first disc.

With two full discs of material, there's a lot to digest on Live at Wood Hall, but for a concert recording, the album couldn't be better. The mix of originals and cover songs is well balanced, and the recording quality is so magnificent you could hear a pin drop. Such clarity puts all the focus on Allison's voice and piano playing without audience or other noise distractions. For the breadth of material offered and for the unique opportunity to hear Allison Crowe play live (since she doesn't have any US dates coming up that I'm aware of), Live at Wood Hall is a great bet for anyone who loves simply beautiful vocals and piano-based music.


CD Review
Amy Lotsberg, Collected Sounds (USA)
August 9 2005

If you've been a reader for this site for a while, you know that I've
reviewed Allison's music many times. She is on the first artists ever
showcased here and as it turns out, in some instances I've been the
first reviewer to review a certain CD or song. So she's definitely a
Collected Sounds favorite. I'm not really sure that I can say anything
new that I haven't already said about Allison. She's amazing.

This recording gives us a chance to see what Allison is like in front of
an audience, how she interacts with them, and how she still does not miss
a note. That voice is just as crystal clear and spot on as it is on any
studio recording.

One of my favorites moments is her cover of Ani DiFranco's "Independence
Day". She actually does quite a few covers here. Many songs by Jerome
Kern, a Counting Crows tune, John Lennon's "Imagine" and something for
you bluesy rock folks: a cover of Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee"
and her voice is perfect for it. Funny, I can't stand Joplin (I know,
you want to take away my Female Musician Evangelist card), but I like it
when Allison is doing it, even though she sounds very much like Joplin.
Go figure!

But most of the other songs are written by Allison and they're just as
good, if not better than the covers. My favorites are: There Is, Sea of
a Million Faces, Whether I'm Wrong, Crayon & Ink (which was also on a
previous release)

This is a great way to get acquainted with the lovely Allison Crowe if
you are not already. If you are, well, then you will have to have this
to round out your collection.


Revieuw Live Album
Frank Van Engelen - Bluesiana - Radio Purmerend (Netherlands)
July 12 2005

What a voice this lady has, sometimes she sounds like Kate Bush, some Melanie, and Eva Cassidy, but most of all herself, in thrilling originals, and some very well done covers. Accompanied with the piano she sets a haunting, relaxing, thrilling performance where you could hear a pin drop. I believe the stories she tells are all very interesting and original. The cover songs she does, are not the easiest ones I have heard, and she gives it a special personal blend. Imagine, she gives a very beautiful touch, the Counting Crows song is brilliant, and the Janis Joplin Me and Bobby McGee is surprisingly with at the end a screaming bluesey voice. I think this treasure could easily do some blues songs too, maybe someday, she coud sing in my show some bluesey stuff. I was very delighted by her music, and if you are into original compositions, with a great voice, that only can be this woman's treasure, this album will bring you happiness and joy everywhere you go. A must have for people who like Norah Jones, Kate Bush, Melanie and Eva (sometimes).

Thanx so much my lady.


Ultrasound: Rock
Tom Harrison, The Province (Canada)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ALLISON CROWE: Live at Wood Hall (Rubenesque)

A double CD of a singer at her piano is a lot to listen to without the immediacy of actually being at the concert. So, allowing for that absence of drama, we are left with a generous helping of original songs and a few interpretations that show Crowe's range - from showtunes to Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco. Crowe is still developing as a writer - she hasn't found her signature yet - but her singing is bold and elastic and ultimately affecting. As for the influence of Amos and DiFranco, you can hear through her music how Crowe relates to these women.


CD Review
Stoked Fish's CD and Movie Tips (Switzerland)
July 2005

Artist: Allison Crowe
Album: Live At Wood Hall
Year: 2005
Label: Rubenesque Records LTD
Review: This is a double cd of Allisons Live at Wood Hall Victoria Conservatory Of Music (Victoria B.B. Canada) show on the nights of March 24 and 25 2005. It features 14 of Allison's originals, I especially like the song Disease with its beautiful dreamy piano line at the very beginning, but also By Your Side, Pray For Rain, Immersed and Whether I'm Wrong. Well, it's all good. Alley covers some songs too, for instance Tori Amos' Playboy Mommy, Ani DiFranco's Independence Day and John Lennon's Imagine. She has an excellent voice and is one of the most promising and overlooked artists out there. She also did a great cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, not featured on this cd. Allison definitely deserves some more attention. Check her out and enjoy!
Highlights: Disease, By Your Side, Pray For Rain, Immersed
Comparison: Reviewers say Alley is similar to Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan, but well, I don't just buy the cd, you won't regret it, seriously

Copyright (c) 2005, stokedfish - various (as noted)

"This Little Bird ~ album reviews (Canada, USA+)"

Artists: Allison Crowe
Jim Kloss, Whole Wheat Radio (USA), November 17, 2006

I have to tell you ... I find Allison's music and style captivating. She reminds me of early Elton John for some reason. I'd love to hear her with a large, full orchestra occasionally although I also appreciate the simplicity of having just her and the piano. (Maybe some of her songs I haven't heard have a full orchestra - I hope so.) I love the new album - "This Little Bird" and the Joni cover "A Case Of You". One of my favorite renditions. Plaintive and haunting. I never tire of her music.


This LittleBird
Sophia Gurley, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music (USA)
December 30, 2006

Ecto priority:
Highly recommended
A strong album of nine original tracks and three covers— Joni Mitchell's ubiquitous "A Case of You", John Sebastian's "Darling Be Home Soon", Ronnie Shannon's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)". I like that the album opens with a lower-key song — Alison Crowe tends to push the emotion in her songs hard, and while "Effortless" is still an emotional song, it's nice to hear her take it a little easier. There are some more upbeat songs on here, too, which makes the album feel like it has a broader range than her previous collections, and thus it feels more subtle and nuanced. Love her gutsy "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", which shows she can still really belt it out. The title (and last) track is a lovely, lively ending to a well-rounded collection. (


This Little Bird
by Allison Crowe

a Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds (USA)

Well, what can I say about the fabulous Allison Crowe that I haven't already said? I've reviewed her records for years and each one is incredible.

This woman has a voice that will have you shaking your head in am amazement. It seems to get better with each release as well.

Her songwriting is also very good. The songs are welcoming and emotional. They are catchy with out being pedestrian.

If you're a fan of beautiful piano songs with strong (but not aggressive) female vocals this is the record for you.

While you're at it, pick up her holiday record, Tidings. It's probably my favorite holiday record of all time.

Posted on December 7, 2006


Luna Kafé record review (Sweden)

Canada - Full Moon 125 - 12/05/06
Allison Crowe
This Little Bird
Sambuca Music

Allison Crowe's previous records have all been good, but This Little Bird is her most defining moment yet. The strong-voiced singer has rarely penned better songs or chosen better covers.

Opener "Effortless" sees her and her piano dominate, a slow-burning but powerful statement being made. The version of fellow countrywoman Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" burn with a steady flame. Crowe gets to the heart of the mystical, intoxicating song. "You're In My Blood Like Holy Wine" has rarely been a line better delivered. "Alive and Breathing" has one of her best melodies and is a breezy but focused song. She even gets away with covering Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You)" in a soulful way.

Crowe's focused and her art's never been better. This little bird is airborne.

Copyright © 2006 Anna Maria Stjärnell

© 2006 FuzzLogic


Ultra Sound
The Province (Canada)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Section: E-Today
Byline: Tom Harrison


Allison Crowe

This Little Bird (Independent)

There is a spare backing to this record that allows Crowe's focused intensity to shine through. It's just enough to create a few highlights that complement her -- background vocals that add fullness, drumming that is hardly there but propels the songs, stand-up bass that anchors them -- but mostly this is, once again, Crowe at her piano. She shows an eclecticism that also reinforces her own songs. The best moments have atmosphere and her moodiness is truly affecting. B

- Tom Harrison

Monday, October 30, 2006


Allison Crowe: This Little Bird

Allison Crowe's new album, This Little Bird, has finally been released so I'm consolidating my posts about the album into this one. I've been living with and listening to an advanced copy for almost two months now, waiting for the official release to post my full review. Despite being very familiar with the songs by now, I was still quite excited to receive the finished product last week.

This Little Bird includes nine original songs and a trio of covers: "A Case of You" (originally by Joni Mitchell), "Darling Be Home Soon" (originally by John Sebastian) and "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" (originally by Ronnie Shannon, best-known as covered by Aretha Franklin).

In addition to her credits of singer, songwriter, and musician (guitar and piano), Allison engineered and produced the album. The packaging of the album is simple and elegant, apparently a throwback to the old school vinyl jackets. The photography is initimate and candlelit, taken by Billie Woods (currently on tour with Allison).

Though I obviously love music very much, there are only a few singers that can really get to me with only the power of their voice. Eva Cassidy, Jeff Buckley, Antony & The Johnsons, and Damien Rice are a few examples of this, and now Allison Crowe.

"Effortless" is one of those subtle songs that quietly draws out whatever emotion you're feeling. Or at least that's how it effects me every time I listen to it. The lyrics stand out almost as much as Allison's voice. The insecurity and self-doubt of the song are very easy to relate to, and as usual Allison's vocals sound completely sincere.

I'm not certain if the opening lyric is the best part of "Skeletons and Spirits", or if it's the cowbell. Either way, it's a great song. The vocals go from the wry and slightly bitter opening verses soaring into an almost wail and then sliding back down into a purr.

I am probably the only person in the world that wasn't in love with Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You". Which is weird since I like most of Joni's other songs, but I just never got the mass appeal of this one song of hers. And the covers, oy. Like "Hallelujah", it's covered far too often by singers who really have no business singing it. Until now. Yes, I realize that Allison could sing the alphabet and I'd think it was a masterpiece, but still. Her emotive singing style made this song finally click with me, and now I'm like everyone else who loves it.

I love the way "Alive and Breathing" starts out so quiet with Allison's solo vocals over a simple tune and builds into a crescendo of voices and music. Sadly, the full aural experience of the song doesn't seem to carry over well into mp3. It sounds much better blaring from the stereo.

"Now" remains one of my favourites on the album. I wish that every singer-songwriter that considers doing the speak-sing thing would listen to this song. This is how to do it right. On the verses, Allison speak-sings, but she sings more than speaks so it flows smoothly with the music and blends into the all sing chorus. It's structured just right and sang beautifully. Of course, I know very little about song structure or writing or singing really, but I know what sounds good to my ears and this one surely does. Especially at the end when Allison unleashes that voice.

"There Is" and "Darling Be Home Soon" are pretty piano tunes. "Silence" is a haunting waltz featuring throaty vocals that fade into a siren chorus. And "Circular Reasoning" is probably spectacular on stage with its guitar, bells, whistles, and pure, lovely vocals.

On "Phoenix" and especially on her cover of "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", Allison gives a soulful, soaring vocal performance worthy of the great female jazz and blues vocalists of decades past.

Need more cowbell? "This Little Bird" has it. The title song is an upbeat finale for an album that I love from beginning to end.

I can honestly and without hesitation say that This Little Bird is my favourite album of 2006. I haven't wanted to immerse myself in an album so intensely since I first heard Antony & The Johnsons. I think if the music blogiverse has any taste at all, Allison Crowe will be the new artist to be pimped out everywhere.

Allison and her manager have generously allowed me to share four songs from the album here:

Allison Crowe - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (mp3)
Allison Crowe - Effortless (mp3)
Allison Crowe - Now (mp3)
Allison Crowe - Skeletons and Spirits (mp3)

Allison Crowe Official Site

Buy the album

Allison will be performing in the U.K. and Ireland as part of Oxjam on the following dates:

October 20 - London, Lauderdale House
October 21 - London, Halo
October 24 - Brighton, Sussex Arts Club
October 26 - Glasgow, Ramshorn Theatre
October 29 - Liverpool, Heart and Soul
November 1 - Dublin, Bewley's Café Theatre
November 3 - Aberdeen, Cowdray Hall
November 4 - Dundee, Chaplaincy Centre - various (as noted)



a) Lisa's Song + 6 Songs (2003) (EP; earlier versions were 6 Songs and 6 Songs +)
b) Tidings: 6 Songs for the Season (2003) (EP)
c) Secrets (2004) singer-songwriter solo debut
d) Tidings (2004) (a greatly expanded version of Tidings: 6 Songs for the Season)
e) Allison Crowe: Live at Wood Hall (2005) (double concert album)
f) This Little Bird (2006) full-length album solo & with band


a) Open Minds Open Windows: Songwriter's Stories (2003) West coast Canadian musicians
b) It Was 40 Years Ago Today (2004) alternative/punk Beatles tribute album
c) Christmas in Rock Vol 4 (2005) German rock Christmas collection


a) Inside Pandora's Box: Allison Crowe (2002) (one-hour television broadcast in Canada)
b) Allison Crowe: Tidings (2003) (one-hour television broadcast annually in Canada)
c) Tidings (2005) (DVD fan-club-only release)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Vincent Van Gogh “loved life so bad, his paintings had twice the color other paintings had”. So sings Jonathan Richman (on Rockin’ and Romance).

And that tells you something about musician Allison Crowe.

A modern lover of music, US-based blogger Muruch puts it like this: “There's really no way to convey through mere words how much the music… moves me, or how I want other people to listen to and adore it as much as I do. Allison sings with such an intensity of emotion, it's easy to see why she's often quoted as saying ‘Why music? Why breathing?’... that kind of artistic passion seems extremely rare these days.”

"I love singing for people," says Allison Crowe. "It's a way to connect and share with others… Communication is crucial. Just being able to do what I do, to write and sing and perform, makes me feel not only alive, but incredibly lucky. Knowing at any moment everything could change, I don't take one second for granted."

Born 25 years ago, on an island, in the harbour city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, today Crowe’s force reaches ’round the world.

"Allison Crowe has a voice to fall in love with," says Record of the Day, the UK’s essential music industry news service. "She is from Vancouver Island in Canada, descended from Irish and Manx stock. She's exactly the sort of artist who can make serious headway on her own label and that's just what she's doing."

Eight years of connecting with her audience through concerts and touring led the singer-songwriter to Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennitt as models for creating her own record label. Since 2003, Rubenesque Records Ltd. has released five Allison Crowe albums: Lisa’s Song+ 6 Songs; Secrets; Tidings, Live at Wood Hall; and This Little Bird. Each has earned great critical acclaim and found heart-felt support. A true grassroots success, all of Crowe’s CDs continue to grow in popular appeal - as her music travels globally via the internet and more traditional distribution channels & media.

“The first thing you notice about Allison Crowe is her voice. Rich and dark, it seems to come from a place most singers can only dream of accessing. Then there are the songs. Filled with raw passion and accompanied by Crowe’s eloquent piano playing,” observes journalist Clodagh O’Connell. When this phenomenon ‘from the islands’ initially reached the mainland, O’Connell puzzled over a defining echo: “Elton John meets Edith Piaf?”

These days, Crowe is praised not only as a singularly exciting songwriter and live performer, but, also, as a song interpreter. Her freshly definitive takes on such 21st century standards as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Joni Mitchell’s “River” are applauded as "truly transcendent". Tidings, an innovative mix of traditional carols and songs of joy, peace, and redemption from the secular songbook, is an emerging classic - “music for the season and all time”.

As well as helping launch her second one-hour television special broadcast across Canada, upon its release, Crowe’s Tidings CD was one of only two albums awarded four stars by The Toronto Sun in its holiday CD roundup - the other being The Christmas Collection, an evergreen Frank Sinatra reissue.

“Her voice celebrates the music with a bluesy rock-gospel intensity; her controlled vibrato, silken rasp, and powerful projection rivet your attention. This is no casual background music… be prepared to be amazed,” says Hamline University Professor Of Law - and CD reviewer - Carol Swanson. “Every song radiates sincerity, creative flair, and emotional intensity."

Of her just-released album, This Little Bird, (which landed on year end top-ten lists from the USA to Sweden), Bob Muller of says: “Allison really comes into her own on this CD - her wonderful songs, supported by her emotive vocals, strong and confident, navigates them with feeling and strength. I mean, it takes a lot of self-confidence to tackle Aretha (Franklin)'s version of 'I Never Loved a Man...' but Allison does and nails it just as good as the Queen of Soul herself. Her piano playing is equally exquisite." Muller sums up: “Treat yourself to one of the mightiest talents on the singer-songwriter scene today.”

Forgoing standard studio enhancement, let alone the sonic trickery so commonplace, from Nanaimo, B.C. to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, (home-bases that span the breadth of Canada), Allison Crowe makes honest, often live, records that outpace a brace of acts produced by the status quo of, both, mainstream, and, indie, marketing.

Perhaps that’s only natural for music made with a genuine pulse. Eclectic, too. Allison Crowe is the only rock artist of this generation to share a stage with jazzer, and fellow-Nanaimo-ite, Diana Krall, have a Beatles cover join Dee Dee Ramone, Sylvain Sylvain and punk/alt performers on a Fab Four tribute, blow away Pearl Jammers in Seattle, pair Tori Amos, Counting Crows, Broadway tunes, and Celtic aires with original, melodic, songcraft and, joyo