Allison Crowe’s definitive Leonard Cohen cover, “Hallelujah,” and her haunting choral rendition of Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” are featured on the Muruch.com Presents Allison Crowe album.
Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe has been Muruch’s musical mascot for ten of our almost fifteen years of music blogging because of her extraordinary talent, artistic integrity and her open support of mp3/music blogs.
Long before the mainstream music industry embraced the internet, Allison pioneered the digital music frontier by offering free, legal mp3 downloads on her website and music blogs like Muruch. She also released digital albums through her own independent label, Rubenesque Records, on Amazon before the practice became the standard. Maintaining such creative control and openness with her fans has at times been to her own financial detrimate and cost her opportunities for more widespread fame, but no other artist has such a flawless record of artistic authenticity as Allison Crowe.
So it makes me very happy to announce a new way for Allison Crowe fans to support and gain even greater access to her spectacular music. Allison just launched a new Bandcamp subscription service. Here’s the official video announcement from Allison and her dog, Link:
The $40 per year subscription gives you instant access via Bandcamp’s app to Allison’s entire back catalogue of albums and any new albums — all available for streaming and permanent download in the digital format of your choice (a feature lacking on other streaming services like Spotify). The subscription also grants exclusive access to the Allison Crowe fan community, a 15% discount on physical merchandise (now and future) and the satisfaction of supporting this truly independent musician in a direct and substantial way…
Allison Crowe has been a very busy girl this year. After a surprise cameo in the summer blockbuster movie Man of Steel and the release of her exquisite traditional folk covers album, Newfoundland Vinyl, Allison quickly rushed back into the studio to write, record, engineer, produce and create the cover art for her upcoming album, Heavy Graces. She only announced the album’s existence at the end of last month and Heavy Graces will be released tomorrow, October 15th, via Allison’s own Rubenesque Records.
Heavy Graces is comprised of five new, original Allison Crowe songs, a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” and two versions of Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat.”
Allison’s delving into traditional folk music for Newfoundland Vinyl seems to have influenced her own songwriting. Songs like the opener “Through These Heavy Graces” and “You All Haunt Me” layer Allison’s lovely voice over simple but heartfelt folk acoustic arrangements. You can see the premiere of the “Through These Heavy Graces” video, featuring footage from Buster Keaton’s classic film The General, below.
Though Allison apparently only took up the fiddle for the recording of this album, she already sounds like a folk fiddle pro in the standout track “Words.” What a lush piece of work that song is! There’s a touch of Celtic folk in the instrumentation, haunting backing vocals and a slow building, seething tension until Allison unleashes her wail toward the end of the song. I’m very happy to be able to premiere and share the mp3 with you below. Update: I also created and premiered a new video for “Words” on November 22, 2013 and added it to the review below.
As I wrote when we premiered the video for her choral version of “Famous Blue Raincoat,” I couldn’t imagine even someone as talented as Allison successfully matching, let alone improving, Cohen’s original or Tori Amos‘ beautiful piano rendition. Yet where Cohen took the song to a melancholy depth and Tori gave it a bittersweet wistfulness, Allison gives the song a new feeling of suspense with a slightly faster pace and choral embellishments. Her cover at times recalls the elegance of Joan Baez‘ operatic folk rendering. And, as always, Allison’s vocal is gorgeous, multi-faceted and full of emotion and grace. You can stream the track and watch the video below.
Allison’s piano makes a very welcome return on her striking cover of Pearl Jam’s “Better Man.” I’m a Pearl Jam fan, so I don’t say this lightly: Allison Crowe’s cover of “Better Man” is better than the original. You can watch the video, featuring footage from the classic silent film Broken Blossoms, below.
On those two covers as well as the captivating original “Dissolve,” Allison once again uses layers of her own voice to mimic a backing choir. It’s a technique she developed for Newfoundland Vinyl, but she seems to have perfected it on Heavy Graces.
The original song lyrics on Heavy Graces seem to deal most often with regaining control of one’s own life, venting anger at and breaking free from oppressive influences and starting fresh with integrity intact. Whether such fierce and independent themes were born from the death of a relationship or Allison’s brief brush with Hollywood, it seems our favorite independent singer-songwriter is more determined than ever to forge her own path. I predict we’ll be seeing Allison Crowe not once but twice on our best of the year list.
Allison Crowe’s upcoming album, Heavy Graces, will feature two covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” and the video for the “Choral” version has just been released. The video sets Allison’s music to scenes from the classic Marlene Dietrich film, The Blue Angel. As much as I love Allison’s voice, I really couldn’t imagine any cover of “Famous Blue Raincoat” surpassing Cohen’s original or Tori Amos‘ beautiful piano rendition. Yet where Cohen took the song to a melancholy depth and Tori gave it a bittersweet wistfulness, Allison gives the song a new feeling of suspense with a slightly faster pace and choral embellishments. Her cover at times recalls the elegance of Joan Baez‘ operatic folk rendering. And, as always, Allison’s vocal is gorgeous, multi-faceted and full of emotion and grace. You can watch it below….
Buy @ Amazon (Available Oct. 15th)
Allison Crowe only announced her new album two weeks ago, but she’s already revealing the track list and setting a release date. Heavy Graces will be released on October 15th and you can view the track list, which includes not one but two covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” as well as a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Better Man,” below…
Heavy Graces Tracklist
1. Through These Heavy Graces (Allison Crowe)
2. Famous Blue Raincoat (choral) (Leonard Cohen)
3. You All Haunt Me (Allison Crowe)
4. Words (Allison Crowe)
5. Better Man (Eddie Vedder)
6. Control (Allison Crowe)
7. Dissolve (Allison Crowe)
8. Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)
Buy @ Amazon (Available Oct. 15th)