Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe continues her Newfoundland Vinyl traditional folk series with the release of Newfoundland Vinyl 3. Allison gives new meaning to the word multi-tasking by once again arranging, performing, producing and engineering a collection of traditional Canadian and Celtic folk songs from the local theatrical production for which she serves as Musical Director. Following is my review of the album along with several mp3s, including three songs premiering here on Muruch.com…
Muruch first introduced you to Romanian-born, Scotland-based singer-songwriter Lizabett Russo two years ago as part of our Surfacing series. Lizabett was one of our more memorable undiscovered artists and her new debut full-length, Running With the Wolves, more than lives up to the extraordinary potential we heard in those first three songs.
From the haunting opener “You May Go Further and Find Worse” through softer folk ballads like “Surrender” and more quirky delights like “Love Me No Matter What,” Running With the Wolves is a nonstop surprise and pleasure.
Lizabett’s supernatural voice is as multi-faceted and multi-genre as her intricately orchestrated music. She can cram the vocal styles of Sia, Melody Gardot, My Brightest Diamond, Regina Spektor and Joan Baez into a single note, particularly in the moody ballad “I’ve Been Waiting” and the gorgeous finale “River Bridge.” Not mention the mindblowingly wide range of songs she’s covered live.
Lizabett Russo’s debut album, Running With the Wolves, is an exquisite collection of some of the most beautiful and innovative songs ever recorded.
Recorded live in a log-cabin in the Canadian wilderness during a cross-country journey, Allison Crowe’s new album, Sylvan Hour, may be her best yet. The private, one-hour performance at a friend’s home in 2006 includes raw, solo takes of songs that would be re-recorded in group sessions for This Little Bird. The recording was lost for nearly a decade and was rediscovered this winter. What a find it was! Allison’s extraordinary voice is in its purest state accompanied only by guitar and piano.
From the opening cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Darling, Be Home Soon” to originals like “Effortless” and the fierce rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” Allison’s vocal prowess and control is on astonishing display.
Among the album’s many standout tracks are “Phoenix,” “These Words” and “Skeletons & Spirits.” These “stripped down” versions are even more powerful and clear than their This Little Bird counterparts.
Allison’s supernaturally agile and exquisite voice is especially stunning, even shocking, as she bends and stretches every note in the haunting, truly chill-producing ballad “Silence.” You can stream and download a free, legal mp3 of the song via the Soundcloud widget below.
The music seems to rise from deep with her chest, sometimes ripping out of her throat in full roar, other times being restrained and shaped with the skill of a master sculptor. Sylvan Hour is truly a masterpiece.