Allison Louise Crowe (born November 16, 1981) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist from Nanaimo, British Columbia who now also lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador (homes spanning the 7000 kilometre breadth of Canada). Crowe records on her own record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. (formed in 2003).
Allison Crowe's first full-length albums, Secrets and Tidings, were released in 2004, when Crowe was 22. (Tidings was originally released in EP form in 2003.) Allison Crowe: Live at Wood Hall, a double concert album, was released in July 2005. A DVD featuring live-in-the-studio performances of Tidings songs was created for her fan club in November 2005.
Crowe, of Scottish, Irish, and Manx descent, grew up surrounded by jazz, classical and rock music, and discovered additional influences on her own such as Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, Tori Amos and Counting Crows. She plays music of all these genres, making her difficult to categorize: in Amazon.com’s downloads, she has simultaneously been in the top three on the Rock Singer-Songwriters, Hymns, Blues, Jazz, Broadway and British & Celtic Folk charts. "Drawing from classical, jazz, pop and gospel sources, the young singer has created singular, inspiring music both in the studio and in the concert hall.” (Joseph Blake, Victoria Times Colonist, March 24, 2005).
Crowe’s most mentioned characteristics are her remarkable live performance ability and her distinctive voice, the natural force of which has been compared to that of Mahalia Jackson. "With the soul of Janis Joplin and the tenderness of fellow Canuck Sarah McLachlan, Crowe rocks with her own unique brand of roots charm." (David McPherson, Exclaim!, October 5, 2004). She accompanies herself on guitar and the piano, on which she has been classically trained. Her physical, percussive, piano style has been likened to that of R&B and rock and roll pioneers such as Fats Domino. She is largely a solo performer, though she has been part of bands as well, notably in a trio format as the Allison Crowe Band (2000 to 2003). Her passionate, visceral style has been referred to as “Elton John meets Édith Piaf” (Clodagh O’Connell, Vancouver Courier, May 23, 2001).
Crowe mostly performs her own songs, which she has been quoted as saying vary among rock, jazz and folk, with lyrics and an intensity that has been compared to that of Laura Nyro, Eddie Vedder, Tori Amos and Patti Smith. "Ever wonder what it would have been like to listen to a gifted singer/songwriter from Saskatchewan in a small, intimate hall before she became Joni Mitchell? Don't fret the missed opportunity. There's no need to turn back the clock. Check out Allison Crowe," says Robert Reid in The Record.
"Whether I'm Wrong", an original song of social conscience penned in early 2003, has been featured by the UNESCO-endorsed New Songs for Peace initiative. Crowe is also acclaimed for her interpretations of songs by a wide variety of composers, from Jerome Kern to Pearl Jam, including Lennon-McCartney and fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Her cover of Cohen’s "Hallelujah" was named Record of the Week by Record of the Day (UK) in August 2004 and again in November 2005.
Crowe has toured across Canada and in the northeastern United States as headliner. Two one-hour television specials have been broadcast across Canada, with her Allison Crowe: Tidings special telecast each December since 2003.
In the Spring of 2006, Allison Crowe toured coast-to-coast in her homeland, covering most of the distance by VIA Rail Canada train on the "Rock'n'Rail Revue".
In October 2006, Allison Crowe released a new album, This Little Bird, which she began recording in February 2006 in her new home of Corner Brook. The album was completed some 6000 kilometres west, on Vancouver Island, and Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.
Following the release of This Little Bird, Allison Crowe visited England, Ireland, and Scotland on a concert tour. In 2007 Crowe's touring included a series of concerts across North America and a return to Europe where she performed to great acclaim at the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival in Durness, Scotland. The event was subsequently crowned the "UK's Best New Festival".
Piano, guitar and lead vocal tracks for two albums were recorded by Allison Crowe throughout 2007 and early 2008. One release, with the working title of Aquarius Rising, is anticipated to include expanded instrumentation and orchestration. In May 2008 Crowe released an eclectic, acoustic, song collection called Little Light.
After learning how the mainstream recording industry operates, in 2003, inspired by the examples of Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennitt, Allison Crowe launched her own record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. She has released the following albums independently.
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