How does one of the world's great musical voices, and most independent artists on the planet, land amidst a face-off between man and Superman in an Hollywood blockbuster?
“I'm a big Johnny Cash fan. And I'm a big Allison Crowe fan. So the combination to me seemed like an awesome opportunity if we could make it happen,” explains “Man of Steel” Director Zack Snyder. “Allison and I had talked about trying to get some of her music in one of my movies whenever we could – and I thought, well, if I just put her in the film then there's no way that it won't work. So, that's where you get Allison from.”
The film-maker, along with his stellar cast and crew, deliver insights into the production of this epic science fiction adventure, in “Journey of Discovery”, a just-released special feature of MoS in Blu-ray edition.
“(Zack) keeps trying to get me into movies and it's amazing,” responds Crowe in the feature. “I first kinda met Zack over the internet about songs online... I think about four or five years ago the first one would have been the 'Watchmen' and he was looking to do 'Hallelujah'. And then the second one we were looking at another song for 'Sucker Punch' and so now we have Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire' and the altercation ensues...”
Allison Crowe with Zack Snyder on "Man of Steel" set - photo courtesy Clay Enos / Warner Bros.
The movie itself reveals how all the pieces fit – and it's an exhilarating ride and humbling experience for the Canadian singer-songwriter. And it's all inspiring.
“In an entertainment world that increasingly genuflects at the altar of instant fame, Crowe seems an anomaly, building her career slowly and carefully,” commented Times Colonist newspaper scribe Adrian Chamberlain some years back. Fine-tuned at the keyboard in arts reportage, (and an r'n'b combo), the writer noted how the “Nanaimo songbird seems uninterested in celebrity and its trappings”.
The universe is ever-expanding for the now Corner Brook, Newfoundland-based, Vancouver Island-born, Crowe, still her goals and values are constant. "Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music is what I want to make," she's said. More than a dozen years along the road less-traveled, she succeeds like no one else.
From attending the red-carpet premiere and festivities of “Man of Steel” this Summer, she traveled from New York City to Cow Head, NL to musically direct the hit stage show “Newfoundland Vinyl”, a production of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. Her LP/album of the same name, joins her latest, “Heavy Graces” among 2013's best new releases. Crowe's third album out this year, “Songbook”, is an oeuvre-spanning 22-song compilation.
People everywhere can enjoy the music – and folks in Allison Crowe's hometowns can join in “Tidings”, a celebration of music for the season and all-time, happening:
Nov. 30 – Arts and Culture Centre, Corner Brook, NL
Dec. 7 – Fairfield United Church, Victoria, BC – to aid Artemis Place and HepCBC
Dec. 12 – Real Food, Old City Quarter, Nanaimo, BC – Community Sing-along to aid Haven Society
Dec. 14 – St. Andrew's United Church, Nanaimo, BC – with guests: Chelsea Peckett; Daniel Knapp; Melissa Kahan; Taylor Johnstone; Raymond Salgado; & Joshua Holloway - to aid Woodlands Secondary Band and Basketball
Concert and community sing-along details coming soon.
"What a voice, what a voice, what a voice!" remarks veteran music reviewer Muruch posting on the 'No Depression' blog. The West Virginia-based folk aficionado highlights a feature ever-present in the music of Allison Crowe – whether it's rock, gospel, jazz, grunge, classical, blues, soul or other genres she's making.
For her newest album, the 11th release on Rubenesque Records, the bi-coastal Canuck lends her voice and musicianship to great songs that come from, and out of, the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Newfoundland Vinyl” covers songs popularized by vinyl-era Canadian legends such as Joan Morrissey, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan, Eddie Coffey and Eddie Eastman. Add in tunes associated with The Dorymen, Stan Rogers plus modern troubadors Gary O'Driscoll and Ron Hynes for a moving and joyous showcase.
“It has the timeless beauty of a classic folk album,” writes Muruch. “The album is full of dazzling melody and such an unique charm.” Alluding to the rare path taken by the artist to achieve success, the review continues: “I'm starting to think Allison Crowe's DIY folk style is Canada's answer to Ani DiFranco.”
Allison Crowe attends the red carpet World Premiere of "Man of Steel", Lincoln Center, New York City, USA Summer 2013 - photo courtesy Clay Enos / Warner Bros.
She's enjoying fun this Summer in movies, too, as “ManofSteel” opens around the globe. Crowe has a cameo in the new Superman epic directed by Zack Snyder – performing Johnny Cash's “Ring of Fire” in a scene that unfolds as Clark Kent /Superman – embodied wonderfully by Henry Cavill – searches for his place in this world.
Musician Allison Crowe and Director Zack Snyder on the set of filming "Man of Steel" - the new Superman epic
MoS has earned more than $600 million at the box office so far. Allison Crowe flew home from the movie's New York City premiere to begin rehearsals with the cast of “NewfoundlandVinyl: The Flipside” – the follow-up to last year's rollicking hit – part of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival happening in Cow Head, NL. Jeff Pitcher, Artistic Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador is Writer and Crowe Musical Director again this Summer.
The production runs July 12 through August 30 at the GMTF. Allison Crowe says cast rehearsals are “AMAZING” – and indicate the show, which gave her newest album its name and raison d'etre, is going to be a super experience.
“Newfoundland Vinyl”, the limited-edition, 180-gram-quality, vinyl LP is available on Crowe's home islands -- on Atlantic shores at Gary Bennett Music in Corner Brook, and via Craig Payne's daROCK Stories & Songs, and venerable Fred's Records in St. John's, NL. On Canada's Pacific coast, the LP is stocked at Fascinating Rhythm, in Nanaimo, Lyle's Place, in Victoria, and Salt Spring Sound, SSI, BC. In the city of Vancouver, Canada - it's @: Highlife Records; Neptoon Records; Red Cat Records; and Zulu Records.
The album can also be mail-ordered for delivery anywhere, and, digitally, it's available here on Allison's Music Site and on CD Baby,iTunes, Amazon and other fine sites that make music available online.
DrHGuy, commenting on Allison Crowe's "Bird on the Wire" cover yet again reveals why his is the web's go-to place for "a pastiche of posts with song, dance, snappy chatter, and notes on prose, poesy, love, lust, life, & Leonard Cohen" :)
"Allison Crowe's cover of Leonard Cohen's classic "Bird On The Wire" is mournful and, true to the lyrics of the song, abjures cheap conventional sentiment and conscientiously avoids ginning up the type of pseudo-consolation that relies on false promises of living happily ever after, e.g., that irreparable conflicts will somehow be resolved, emotional damages repaired, or the pain of personal loss alleviated. Yet, Crowe's voice and phrasing convey such empathy and intimacy that solace and succor are nonetheless granted through grace.
It's a great cover of a great song."
The original, full, post contains this eloquent text and a lovely photo of Allison, as well as the video for "Bird on a Wire".