At the start of this millennium, Allison Crowe embarked from her Pacific Ocean home, Vancouver Island, to perform a pair of concerts in Seattle, Washington, at a “Worldwide Jammer Convergence” of Pearl Jam fans. There was no roadmap for her success.
Today, Crowe is an internationally-acclaimed and much-loved singer-songwriter. Readying for another season of touring, and creation of her eighth album/song collection, she's navigating a life in music.
Ahead of the 20th century recording industry's entry into the digital age, Allison Crowe emerges in a new DIY generation. Decades earlier, punk, and, resonantly, pop culture revolution in the 1960s, erupted. Then, institutionalized payola and greedy elements smothered music radio. “Company men”, as John Lennon labeled them, took over – on stage as well as in the boardroom.
Rock's bold promise to squeeze your lemons was reconstituted in this new era - a branding pitch hot-blooded as ice-tea. In 2006, John Sebastian, jug-band music-maker, writer of classic songs for The Lovin' Spoonful, tells The New York Times: "The industry has been in the corporate noose for so long, it doesn't even have a leg jiggle left. There's no one left saying, 'Wait we want to make art'."
Rock and roll spirit, magnificent and wild as rebellion, lives on - vital tendrils reaching out through the casement. On Allison Crowe's path, classical and jazz roots meet with teenage influences Ani DiFranco, PJ, Tori Amos and Counting Crows. Independents DiFranco, Loreena McKennitt and Janis Ian show there is a way – and it's different for each.
Coursing freely, Crowe's real “story” is her immense creativity – talents and gifts of writing and musicianship, (voice, piano and guitar), which she shares openly. Communicating emotion, crossing over language, sex, religion, race, age and other dividers, performing original compositions and as interpreter.
Forming Rubenesque Records Ltd. to market her recordings, since 2003 Allison Crowe has released a series of seven albums/CDs singularly remarkable in its diversity and quality of writing and performance – and delivered epiphanies amid concert fun and excitement. (Testifying are music writers the world over – find a sampling below and more @ http://www.allisoncrowe.com/pressquotes.html)
"Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music is what I want to make," Crowe says. Embracing the web, she and her audience have found each other - big-time.
On Last.fm, the world's largest online music catalogue and recommendation site, (where her song tracks enjoy over 100,000 listeners and nearing 700,000 plays), Allison Crowe's been voted by some very discerning music-lovers into the "Singer-Songwriter of the Week" group's Hall of Fame – joining Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Townes van Zandt, Carole King, Neil Young, Van Morrison, other legends, and a handful of younger artists. Crowe, 29, is the only singer-songwriter under 30 selected – closest her age in this august company is Conor Oberst (32) and Sufjan Stevens (35).
On Jamendo, the planet's premiere platform for free music and a community of Creative Commons music authors, Crowe's original songs have been played over one million times by 200,000 regular listeners. On YouTube, the video site which serves as a top music discovery forum, Crowe's music videos have over 10 million, (un-bought and un-rigged), listens/views. Add one-million-plus plays and downloads of original music from her own website, and the totality represents a musical connection achievable in pre-internet times only by gold-to-platinum-selling acts with label muscle flexing major financial support.
For Allison Crowe, wholly-independent, this exposure also translates into sales, as people still want physical CDs, and, so far, more than 500,000 paid downloads/streams (via iTunes – and such 'etailers' as CD Baby, Amazon, Emusic, among others, which serve their own music-buying bases).
Bicoastal Crowe calls Corner Brook, NL, and Nanaimo, BC, home. Outside her native land, Canada, she's especially popular in the USA, Europe, and, increasingly, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Running her own operations, it's an incremental process to physically traverse the globe and perform. Bonds initiated online strengthen in the flesh. It's the stuff of legend.
A sensation in the Village Hall, Durness, Scottish Highlands, just a few years ago, Allison Crowe's on a bill with Carol Ann Duffy, currently Britain's Poet Laureate, and the Royal Academy of Music Players under the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Her set included Beatles' favourite “In My Life” - for members of the Lennon clan, local villagers, musicians and global celebrants come together for the "John Lennon Northern Lights Festival." Crowe's latest European tour wrapped, this past October, in the birthplace of a nation, atop Germany's fabled Harz Mountains. Medieval Quedlinburg, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosted Crowe who performed for an SRO crowd inside Blasiikirche, and an overflow audience circling outside the historic church.
Publicly, Dance Ensemble students at Lindenhurst High, New York, gambitsurya in Chennai, India, young folks 'round the world are singing and dancing to Allison's music for their communities, for themselves. In the present semester, Christina, Polly, Jess, Jil, Tamanna, Shamima, Nilufa, and Sabina, high school and college students at disparate UK learning institutions have made Allison Crowe songs, “Skeletons and Spirits”, “This Little Bird”, and “Lisa's Song”, course projects in Media and Video. In Hollywood, director Zack Snyder, (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch), helming the reboot of the Superman movie series, tells ArtistDirect: "Right now, I've been trying to find a really good cover of 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.' I can't find one that I really like with all five verses, so that's a problem. I was going to call someone up like Allison Crowe and be like, 'Can you record a version of this?' That's how my brain works!” Privately, families are paying their last earthly respects to loved ones accompanied by Crowe's musical voice. Mothers are welcoming their newborns to this sound.
Allison Crowe's Spring Show comes to: Fredericton, NB (April 29), to aid The Kidney Foundation of Canada's “A Brush of Hope” campaign; Halifax, NS (April 30); and St. John's, NL (May 7).
"Una voce incredibile per una forza della natura." ~ Reset Radio (Italy)
"There are some voices that speak (or sing) for themselves. You know the ones. Voices where it doesn't matter what they sing. Voices where it doesn't really matter what instruments support them. Solomon Burke has such a voice. Jeff Buckley had it. Allison Crowe has it too." ~ Ray Padgett, Cover Me (USA)
"Canada's finest songwriter" ~ Stephen Thomas, We Write Lists (UK)
"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." ~ Robert Reid, The Record (Canada)
"Once famously described by the Vancouver Courier as possessing a style akin to 'Elton John meets Edith Piaf', the Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is renowned for her ability to blend control and melodrama." ~ MOJO (UK)
"One of the best interpreters to come along since Joe Cocker" ~ Bob Bishop, Editor, Paris Voice (France)
"J'ai rarement été bouleversée à ce point par une voix féminine. Pure comme de la glace, puissante et même violente... qu'il est impossible de ne pas mettre son coeur en jeu en l'écoutant... faîtes place à une virtuose nom de Zeus!" ~ SplinterMuse (France)
"Ihre gestalteten Emotionen umfassen sowohl stürmische, dramatische Prozesse, Wut, Verzweiflung, aber auch spielerischen Übermut und einen unbändigen Lebenswillen. Im Kontext dazu stehen ihre zarten, hingebungsvollen Empfindungen, eine Lyrik, in denen sie die breit gefächerte Facette ihrer gesanglichen Begabung zum Klingen bringt." ~ Barbara Kirchner-Babinecz, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Germany)
"the most honest, heartfelt, and directly intimate concert in my entire life." ~ Ross Hocker, WGTE/NPR (USA)