Don’t forget to enter our Allison Crowe giveaway! You could win 1 of 5 prize packages containing Allison’s new album, Newfoundland Vinyl, in both vinyl LP and mp3 formats. If you only know Allison from her singing cameo in Man of Steel, this is your chance to experience her own extraordinary music. See the giveaway post for details and to enter.
Attention vinyl and/or Allison Crowe lovers: Muruch is giving away 5 of the beautiful, limited edition vinyl LPs of Allison Crowe’s magnificent new album, Newfoundland Vinyl. Each vinyl LP includes a code for a free digital download of the album, so you can listen to it on your turntable or your mp3 player. You can read my review of the album here and the giveaway details (along with 4 mp3s) are below…
5 winners will receive:
1 copy of Allison Crowe’s new CD Newfoundland Vinyl on Vinyl LP and 1 free digital album download code
Comment to this entry with “Allison Crowe” and your email address. All new comments are moderated to avoid spam (which is why you must include the artist’s name in your comment), so it may take a day for your comment to appear if you haven’t commented on Muruch before.
Note: This contest is open to everyone, but all contestants must enter with a valid email address and the artist’s name in order to qualify. The winner of the contest will also be required to provide me with their full name and postal address for shipping purposes.
The contest will end on Friday, August 9th. The winners will be chosen at random and contacted via email.
As a thank you of sorts for my rave review of her new album, NewFoundland Vinyl (both here at Muruch and on No Depression), Allison Crowe’s management has kindly allowed me to offer five of my favorite songs from her Live at Wood Hall album as free, legal mp3s. “By Your Side,” “Crayon & Ink,” “Immersed” and “Whether I’m Wrong” are all original songs written by Allison Crowe, while “Believe Me If All” is a traditional song rearranged by Allison. You can download those classic original songs below and you can still nab four brand new cover mp3s in the Newfoundland Vinyl review.
Muruch‘s long-time musical mascot Allison Crowe just released her new album, Newfoundland Vinyl. The album was originally created during a theatrical production for which Allison was the Musical Director and intended to represent 200 years of music popular in Newfoundland, yet its true scope is so much broader. It plays like a lovely, vintage collection of traditional Irish and Canadian folk ballads, lively sea chanteys and drinking songs, parlour songs and country tunes with surprising retro, girl-pop harmonies woven throughout. The album is full of dazzling melody and such a unique charm. And Allison’s voice is so strong and spectacular, I’m afraid Foxygen has fierce competition here for my favorite album of the year.
It’s appropriate that Newfoundland Vinyl is Allison’s first vinyl LP, as a more classic album has rarely been recorded. The limited edition, 180-gram vinyl LP is currently only being stocked at select locations in Canada, but is available worldwide in digital format through all the usual online outlets. That is how I’m listening for this review, as I just couldn’t wait for the vinyl to arrive. What an exquisite, unusual collection. What a voice, what a voice, what a voice!
Allison released Newfoundland Vinyl on her own independent label, Rubenesque Records. I’m starting to think Allison Crowe’s DIY folk style is Canada’s answer to Ani Difranco, or perhaps more accurately Anaïs Mitchell since the theater-to-album story of Newfoundland Vinyl is very similar to that of Hadestown. But I digress.
Allison also arranged, produced, engineered and performed the entire album herself — including all of the intricately layered harmonies in which her singular, extraordinary voice mimics a backing choir of singers. I was truly shocked to learn that bit of information, as it sounds as if she has several different singers accompanying her.
The opener “Black Velvet Band” and “The Men Who Die For a Living” are among my favorite tracks.
“The Black Velvet Band” is a traditional Irish ballad about a man’s chance encounter with a girl, which leads to his arrest and transport as a prisoner to Australia. The Dubliners may have recorded one of the more famous renditions of the song, but Allison’s is the most stunning version I’ve heard and just may become the definitive version (as her cover of “Hallelujah” has) over time.
“The Men Who Die For a Living” is a haunting ode to miners and their families that is universally powerful — whether you live in the mining territories of Newfoundland, Appalachia or elsewhere.
“Easy,” which plumbs the depths of Allison’s voice, has a more mellow, classic pop-folk sound and was a 1979 country hit for Canadian singer Eddie Eastman, so it’s a perfect fit for the album’s vinyl theme.
Also of note is the fun, funny, rollicking drinking song “Skipper Billy’s Wake.” It’s one of the more uptempo and humorous songs on the album.
The lilting finale “Sweet Forget Me Not” is another splendid showcase of the album’s pretty, multi-layered harmonies.
This is one of those gorgeous albums that you love more with every single listen and I never thought Allison could make an album that I would love more than 2007’s Live at Wood Hall, but indeed she has.
Newfoundland Vinyl is my new favorite Allison Crowe album, possibly my favorite album of the year and just may be on its way to becoming one of my favorite albums of all time. It has the timeless beauty of a classic folk album.
We here at Muruch first broke the news of Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe’s involvement in the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, last month and, since the movie’s release, were able to reveal a few more details about her role. Allison Crowe took a break from her increasingly busy schedule to follow up our 2008 interview with her and share her thoughts on her Man of Steel experience as well as her upcoming album…
So….what was it like appearing in your first film?!
“It was amazing – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – and the some of the most fun I’ve ever had!”
Did you get to meet any of the other actors? If so, any anecdotes to share?
“Close-up, I got to meet everyone in the bar scene I was in that day of filming on Vancouver Island – and everyone was fantastic! Zack and Debbie, (the Snyders, director and producer, respectively), are just amazing people and Henry (Cavill aka Superman), is a lovely and down-to-earth guy. It was a ton of fun. Many cast and crew members were from Vancouver, Canada and worked together before. Howard Siegel, Carmen Lavigne, Nicole Rockmann and others in the scene are the nicest people as well as talents. Ian Tracey is just right in his role and very funny. Juniper Watters in the sound dept. is also a great musician. Co-producer Wes Coller, Misha Bukowski, assistant director, alongside all the production coordinators, assistants – how they work is inspiring. Actors, wardrobe, make-up, props people, directors, producers… each individual in every aspect of the production – they are all remarkable. Together, they’re super. True pros!
My Mom and I also got to visit the movie set on the mainland and met actors there, fabulous costume designer Michael Wilkinson – and so many people I could also mention. We were treated so well by publicist Lee Anne Muldoon. And on!
Then at the recent movie premiere/ after-party in NYC I met so many people as well from the US side of things – Hans Zimmer, Michael Kelly, everyone was great. 🙂
Myself and Hans Zimmer even took a selfie! hehe Relaxing with Karyn and Michael Kelly, meeting Debbie’s parents… truly special.”
How did you first get involved in the movie?
“Well, Zack and Debbie had wanted to use my version of “Hallelujah” in the Watchmen, (they had seen it on YouTube!), and then didn’t end up using it, (Zack said it was too beautiful, which is a pretty fantastic thing to say, if you ask me!). A couple of years later, they were in touch again to possibly have a song by me in Sucker Punch. That movie, too, went in a different direction. Then, they actually asked to have me physically singing in this movie – Man of Steel – and it was so much fun.”
Like you, a once up and coming singer named Madonna made a cameo as a bar singer in a movie (Vision Quest) that turned out to be one of the launching pads to her mainstream fame. Did you have that kind of catapult to fame in mind when you took the role? If so, did it cause you to feel any hesitation before you said yes or was it a motivating factor?
“You know, I think all of that crosses your mind – this is a huge movie, and tons of people who haven’t seen me before will, and that’s really really amazing – but really, just working on the movie itself is an exciting thing. Anything else that comes with it is sort of like the proverbial icing on the cake. I’ve always wanted to do something like this – and I was given this wonderful opportunity – and that is awesome. I would do it again in a heart-beat.”
Man of Steel was a huge box office success its opening weekend alone. Is it affecting your career yet?
“It’s definitely been a very busy time, so I think I’d have to say yes, for sure. I do know a lot of people have been tremendously supportive and enthusiastic and kind to me this whole time – and it does seem as though more people are starting to find me online and listen to my music – and that’s pretty fantastic!”
Do you plan to act in the future? If so, do you have any dream (or even reality-based:) projects in mind?
“I would absolutely love to act in film and theatre in the future. I’d be happy to be in anything Zack makes – I am a huge fan of his anyways, and he was so amazing to work with, I’d jump at the chance to do this again!
I’m also a huge fan of a lot of very varied TV shows (Sons of Anarchy would be an awesome show to be on!! ) (just putting that out there). And I know Battlestar Gallactica isn’t being made anymore, but… that would be a dream project! I love that show.
I also love comedy, and I like to hope, (not think, but hope), that I can be pretty hilarious sometimes – if regularly laughing at your own jokes counts. Which it probably doesn’t. But I try.
I’m also a huge fan of video games, and I’d love to voice one one day – ie. in Bioshock Infinite there were some amazing parts for singing, too! And they had different versions of all these songs throughout different eras… it’s so cool. I found myself singing along to a lot of it. (there’s a version of “Fortunate Son” that is SO GOOD)
Also if they ever did a re-make of the original The Little Mermaid, I’d love to be Ariel. hehe
Essentially – I am open to any possibilities! I love creating and I love art and performance – and I love watching TV and Movies and playing video games.”
Did you have a hand in selecting “Ring of Fire” for your performance in the film?
“We knew the song would be a Johnny Cash song for sure, then it was just a task of figuring out which one! As part of my process, I went through and listened to every song in his repertoire – from early recordings like “Cry,Cry, Cry” to his last. We’re all Trent Reznor fans, so, even, “Hurt,” a song with strong associations, came up as an idea. In the end, Zack and his creative team decided on “Ring of Fire” – and we decided on guitar (rather than piano) for the scene – and I then recorded a few different versions with varying tempos and approaches so that we could settle on one version. We sent them back and forth and I found what feels most natural to me for the song. Zack felt the same way as me, and that’s what ends up in the filmed performance.”
Johnny Cash is one of many legendary artists whose songs you have covered. Were you intimidated taking on the Man in Black?
“I think it’s always a little intimidating taking on the songs of such iconic artists – but that’s half the fun of it – trying to find a way to pay homage to the artist and the song respectfully while being able to put your own spin on things.”
Since the cover doesn’t appear on the movie’s soundtrack, do you plan to include it on a future release of your own?
“There are no plans as of yet – but you never know what the future holds! :)”
Tell us about your upcoming album, Newfoundland Vinyl. Will it be a big departure stylistically from your previous releases?
“This actually will be a lot different to previous releases! First off, this will be my first Vinyl release. (It will also be released digitally/online.) This is also my first album that is ALL guitar – and that’s pretty exciting! Finally, this will be the first time I’ve done an album of Newfoundland music – and I find the songs to be so real and the stories within them to be so brilliantly told. From the heart-wrenching to the hilarious – there is such a wealth of beautiful music to come out of NL.
The idea for this album comes from a musical theatre production I worked on last Summer. The title comes from Jeff Pitcher, the writer and director of that show – Newfoundland Vinyl. It’s a collection of songs that are part of peoples’ lives in this region, and that all gained popularity in days when vinyl records were the main format for music. This Summer I’m working on a sequel, Newfoundland Vinyl: The Flipside, again as musical director, and production begins on the same day as the LP’s release (June 25). I can’t wait to get started working with the extremely talented and fun people in TNL (Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador).
Due to possible ADR or other work on Man of Steel, there was a chance I may not have been able to make it to the Gros Morne Theatre Festival to be musical director this year, or that I may have to miss a day or two here or there – so I decided to record what ends up being basically half of the songs in this year’s show, just so that there’d be arrangements in case I wasn’t able to physically make it to rehearsal!
Now it turns out I’ll be there in Gros Morne the entire time of the show rehearsals – and I have an album to release!”
Allison’s manager, Adrian, adds the following:
“What’s it like? A dream come true, honestly.
Since the release of Man of Steel we’ve experienced the highest-ever number of daily visitors to Allison’s own music website. That’s one response – from the audience. What I see as a profound impact of working with Zack and Debbie Snyder and everyone on the Superman movie, right now, (and, earlier, Watchmen and Sucker Punch), is the inspiration and motivation it brings Allison, as an artist and person, to grow. When people you respect are doing great things, and they feel the same about you and what you do, this is fuel. It feeds body and mind and fires the soul.
With respect to “Ring of Fire,” naturally, only a segment of Allison’s performance appears in MoS. We’ll learn over coming months whatever Warner Bros. and partners have in mind for any fuller audio/video. I’m grateful to Darren Higman, WB’s Executive VP of Music, and his assistant, Kari Miazek, for facilitating so much over the years.
And, like Alley, there’s many, many, people I’d mention as being so good to us personally and professionally. Together with the Snyders, there’s co-producer Wesley Coller, producer Chuck Roven and… well, a look at the IMDb credits tells how long should be this list :)”
Editor’s Note: At this point, I feel I should be honest: I have not seen Man of Steel myself yet and don’t know that I will since so many reviews describe it as “grim and violent*” (exactly what I don’t want in a movie) and Allison’s role was cut to a cameo. My intention, as always, is to support Allison Crowe, not to endorse the film. Nevertheless, I still hope the success of the movie brings more attention to Allison’s music. Allison Crowe is such an extraordinarily talented artist, everyone in the world should hear her music any way they can.