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Allison Crowe


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Beautiful & fierce bluesy, alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Heavy Graces (2013)

See also:

Allison Crowe's site

Comparisons:

Her vocal stylings remind me a lot of blues singers and the belting-it-out kind of jazz and pop singers, though her music is pop/rock. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Covers/own material:

Own and covers, including a holiday album

General comments:

Wonderful. Soulful, deep-voiced piano ecto. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Amazing voice for a young girl. Gorgeous songs. (amy@ecalos.com)

Allison Crowe does powerful, full-on renditions of her own songs and selected covers—she's not a singer who holds much back. Her accompaniment is accomplished and lively (though not as showy as Tori Amos). Her songwriting is strong, especially for an artist just at the beginning of her career. Anyone who likes piano-based singer songwriters should check her music out. There is a wealth of samples at her website. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Recommended first album:

this little bird

Recordings:


Lisa's song + 6 Songs

Release info:

2003—self-released

Availability:

See Allison Crowe's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Allison Crowe—vocals, piano

Guest artists:

Dave Baird—electric and acoustic bass
Kevin Clevette—drums, percussion

Produced by:

Rick Erickson ("Lisa's Song"); Larry Anschell (6 songs)

Comments:

"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. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Tidings ep

Release info:

2003—Rubenesque Records

Availability:

Supplanted by 2004's full-length version

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Allison Crowe—vocals, piano

Guest artists:

David Baird—bass on 3 tracks
Kevin Clevette—drums on 3 tracks

Comments:

See comments on full-length version. This 6-track ep version includes:
  • Hallelujuah (Leonard Cohen cover)
  • Silent Night
  • In the Bleak Midwinter
  • O Holy Night
  • Shine a Light (Rolling Stones cover)
  • Angel (Sarah McLachlan cover)

secrets

Release info:

2004—Rubenesque Records

Availability:

See Allison Crowe's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Allison Crowe—vocals, piano, guitar, keyboards, thumps

Guest artists:

Del Crowe—guitar
Jo Lunstrom—accordion
Eric Reiswig—uilleann pipe

Comments:

One of my top indie discs of 2004. (amy@ecalos.com)

A strong collection of powerfully performed songs, focusing on Allison Crowe's vocals, with their upfront emotional expression. Convincing, gutsy, artful. Highly recommended for ectophiles. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)


Tidings

Release info:

2004—Rubenesque Records

Availability:

See Allison Crowe's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Allison Crowe—vocals, piano

Guest artists:

David Baird—bass on 3 tracks
Kevin Clevette—drums on 3 tracks

Produced by:

Larry Anschell

Comments:

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. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Live at Wood Hall

Release info:

2005—RRL-00004

Availability:

See Allison Crowe's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:Allison Crowe—vocals, piano

Produced by:

Larry Anschell

Comments:

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. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

this little bird

Release info:

2006—RRL-00005

Availability:

See Allison Crowe's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Allison Crowe—vocals, piano guitar

Guest artists:

Dave Baird—acoustic bass, electric bass; guitar on 1 track
Laurent Boucher—drums, bells, Tibetan bells, bhodran, congas, shakers, triange, tambourines, cowbell
Del Crowe—guitar on 2 tracks

Produced by:

Allison Crowe

Comments:

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. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)


Thanks to Sophia Gurley for work on this entry.

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Artists commented on by
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Jill Tracy


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Entry last updated 2014-04-27 20:36:27.
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