As with following William Blake’s roadmap to eternity’s sunrise, fans of musician Allison Crowe know to kiss “the joy as it flies.”
Right now, Crowe is soaring – from Canada’s Pacific coast to its Atlantic shores, bringing her Tidings tour next to Corner Brook, Newfoundland – for a concert this Friday, December 12 in the city’s Arts and Culture Centre. And she’s on the wing with two new albums: ‘Souling”, an a breath-taking cappella collection of traditional Christmas carols, and “Newfoundland Vinyl II”, a many-splendoured music mix – songs of, and from, her island home.
A talent strong and free, like Edith Piaf, John Lennon, Luke Kelly, and other such vital, visceral, artists and entertainers, Allison Crowe’s voice rings true on:
- Soul Cake
- I Saw Three Ships
- That Night in Bethlehem (Don Oíche úd i mBeithil)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- The Wexford Carol
- The Holly and the Ivy
- In the Bleak Midwinter (Cranham)
- Ding Dong Merrily on High
- Once in Royal David’s City
- Wassail Song
Newfoundland Vinyl II
- (Area Code) 709
- Woman of Labrador
- Tarry Trousers
- The Water Witch
- Out from St. Leonard’s
- Paddy McGinty’s Goat
- Northern Lights of Labrador
- The Wild Rover
- 30 for 60
- Saltwater Joys
On the first album, her voice is heard wholly a cappella giving familiar songs an uniquely timeless purity of expression. On her second album out this month –Allison Crowe’s voice, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, tin-whistle, percussion, arrangements, engineering, production and photography come together – with guest backing vocals by NL actor/teacher Adam Brake (on “Out from St. Leonard’s”).
Amazing talent in service of songs roves o’er centuries-old carols to a modern canon of such stellar writers as Gary O’Driscoll, Ron Hynes, Al Pittman and Andy Vine – and tunes originally performed by such popular acts as Corey & Trina, Figgy Duff, & Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.
Both albums celebrate a creative bond between Crowe, the internationally-loved touring and recording artist, and Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, the professional theatre company founded on the west coast in 1979.
For these past three Summers TNL’s engaged Crowe as Musical Director of “Newfoundland Vinyl” – a perennial favourite at the annual Gros Morne Theatre Festival. Following another hit season at GMTF, in late August of this year TNL Artistic Associate SaraH McDonald invited the Corner Brook musician to serve the same role with a vibrant production of “A Christmas Carol”. Readying a choir for this adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic by TNL’s Artistic Director Jeff Pitcher inspired Crowe’s “Souling” set.
AD Pitcher’s conception of a revival of vinyl era, and more, songs of Newfoundland and Labrador put wind in the sails of Allison Crowe’s curatorial mission. “It’s here!” says pioneering music blog Muruch, “Allison Crowe just released Newfoundland Vinyl II and it’s the perfect follow-up to her traditional folk masterpiece, Newfoundland Vinyl”.
Of her immersions as Musical Director with TNL, and the melodic bounty that’s landed, Allison Crowe notes: “There is so much wonderful music – you could piece together multiple anthologies and still only scratch the surface of such an extensive and rich collection. Each of these songs is its own story, of land and sea, of people, and each story in-and-of-itself could be an entire show. I’m truly grateful that you are here to hear the story these songs have to offer.” She gives special thanks to “the incredibly talented and versatile” casts and crews of TNL’s productions for their inspiration.
“Souling” and “Newfoundland Vinyl II” are available via http://music.allisoncrowe.com, iTunes, Amazon and all of today’s fine digital music outlets.