Spiral ♫ contains eight of Allison Crowe’s original songs, ranging from the tender and playful country/roots of “Dearly”, to the upbeat pop of “Double-Edged Swords”, ’cross the loving “Oceans”, and darker terrain of “I Don’t Know” and the hard rocking title track. Raw, natural, emotion is embraced passionately with elegiac beauty and melody in these, and such joy-filled tunes as “Going Home Tonight” and “No Matter the Battle”. With the live track, “Wake Up”, Crowe, again, renders the personal universal, and the global, human.
Uniquely known not just as one of the most exciting songwriters of a new generation, Crowe is also one of our finest interpreters of popular song. Spiral’s mix of light and shadow includes a trio of fresh covers – revisiting music of Annie Lennox (“Why”), Leonard Cohen (“Chelsea Hotel No. 2”), and Hunters and Collectors’ Antipodean anthem, “Throw Your Arms Around Me”.
On this new song collection, the bi-coastal Canadian, (she calls Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Nanaimo, British Columbia, home), is joined by ideally-skilled and sympathetic west-coast musicians Billie Rocha-Woods (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Dave Baird (bass, backing vocals), Laurent Boucher (percussion), Brendan Millbank (cello) and Larry Anschell (electric guitar, and, also, Engineer/Producer at Turtle Studios in White Rock, B.C.)
Kayla Schmah, Los Angeles-based, Canadian-born, composer and film scorer, orchestrates and produces the album with, yes, "gorgeous" musical textures, and cinematic ideas artfully brought to life. Concert capturings by Engineers B.R.N. (aka Condor) and John MacMillan complete this diverse mix of music made in Corner Brook, Nanaimo, as well as Chilliwack, White Rock, Denman Island and Salt Spring Island, Canada, Vienna, Austria, and Hollywood, USA.
The visual art of Spiral matches its aural beauty - with cover paintings by Netherlands-based Tara Thelen, photographs by Canada's Billie Rocha-Woods, and California's Dan Goldwasser, fontage from Brazil’s Billy Argel and graphic design by Florida's Alix Whitmire.
♫ Follow the yellow-brick road of song, cinematic in scope, visceral in nature, thinking, feeling, courageous and fun - rock, pop, folk, soul, roots.
♫ Allison Crowe’s music is that feast where, says the poet Rimbaud, “all hearts open and all wines flow.”
Over a decade of reviews, the word most often used to describe the voice of Allison Crowe is “gorgeous”. The word that testifies more than any other to her musical performance is “amazing”. This month, the much-loved and acclaimed singer-songwriter releases “Spiral”, her seventh album/CD. It is both of these things. And plenty more.
U.S.-based entertainment blog ‘Muruch’ earlier this year named it as an album most highly anticipated, and, now, UK music blog ‘We Write Lists’ includes "Spiral" as one of "The Twelve Most Exciting Albums of 2010", remarking: "Crowe's speciality is startlingly beautiful piano-based songs that sort of make you wonder why you bother with anything else."
(Joining Crowe on the list are new recordings from: Fleet Foxes, Fyfe Dangerfield, Girls Aloud, Goldfrapp, Gorillaz, Joanna Newsom, Marina and the Diamonds, Massive Attack, MGMT, Music Go Music and She and Him.)
For Allison Crowe, a peerless live performer, and a singer-songwriter of the thrilling calibre known in the 1960s, Spiral is the seventh release from her label, Rubenesque Records, in as many years. Musical production wrapped on Valentine's Day.
Brendan Millbank: cello
Larry Anschell: electric guitar, & engineer (turtlerecording.com)
Dave Baird: bass, backing vocals
Billie Rocha-Woods: acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Laurent Boucher: percussion
Kayla Schmah: orchestrator, string arranger, & producer
Music created in: Corner Brook, NL + Nanaimo, Chilliwack, White Rock, Denman Island and Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada; Vienna, Austria; & Hollywood, CA, USA
Engineered by: Allison Crowe (Canada + Europe); & Larry Anschell, (Turtle Recording studios, White Rock, Canada) except: 'Wake Up' Engineered by B.R.N. (Condor) and John MacMillan; & 'I Don't Know' Engineered by John MacMillan
Orchestrated, Arranged and Produced by: Kayla Schmah (kaylaschmah.com)
Cover paintings: 'Look at Me' (front), 'I Found You' (inside) by Tara Thelen (tara-artwork.com) Image of 'Look at Me' graciously provided by Maurits Godschalx from his collection
Photos of Allison, Billie, Dave & Laurent: Billie Rocha-Woods (billiewoods.com)
Photo of Kayla: Dan Goldwasser (ScoringSessions.com)
Art Direction & Design: Alix Whitmire
Ginga font: Billy Argel (billyargel.blogspot.com)
Driver & Road Manager: Axel "Rock and Roll" Dollheiser
Personable Manager: Adrian du Plessis (allisoncrowe.com)