Allison Crowe is leaving the “lonely” life as solo artist behind and embarking on her first full-length tour with her new band.
The Nanaimo native, now living in Cornerbrook, Nfld., has a string of solo albums and EPs to her name, the earliest recorded in 2001 when she was still a teenager.
“I had really supportive parents,” she says.”When they cut the school band program out of elementary school, a bunch of parents got together and got an after school band program going up at the high school.”
Inspired by classical, jazz and gospel music, Crowe has steadily gained popularity with her songs, both original and cover tunes, which she still enjoys performing. She began playing the flute in band at age 11. “I always played piano and taught myself guitar, with stage band and jazz band I played bass a bit and drums, I did a bit of whatever,” she says with a laugh. “I tried it all out because I loved it. Now I’m learning the fiddle and the bodhran, an Irish hand drum. One day I want to learn the cello.”
Her interest in learning new instruments stems from her job as Musical Director of Newfoundland Vinyl at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. “It’s summer stock, it runs May to September. … Working with musicians, I feel like I need to have a grasp of how musical instruments work – whether or not I’m super duper mediocre at it,” she says, laughing again.
She’s currently working on a Christmas show for Theatre Newfoundland, but first she’s hitting the road with her new band, making an appearance at the Charlie White Theatre in Sidney.
“We’re going to Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver and we’re also recording in Whiterock. It’ll be a lot of fun,” she says.
The band includes Celine Greb, Billie Woods and Dave Baird. “Celine is new – she’s awesome. She’s also a graphic designer, she also does our posters and our new website and plays cello and sings songs.”
After Christmas the band will head to Europe, visiting German, Slovenia, Belgium and Italy. “With touring, you just get used to it by the time it’s over. Then you go home and you’re just getting used to being there and … you’re never 100 per cent settled. But I enjoy touring, I’ve made a lot of friends over the years, when I go back to places like Germany and Italy, I see a lot of familiar faces.”
She’s looking forward to recording with the band after years of going it alone. “It’ll be all new recording with the band … with the cello and backing vocals. It’s not just me, because I’ve been recording on my own for such a long time, me at home in my kitchen – it’ll be nice, It’ll make everything more fun.”
She’s also looking forward to performing live with the band. “I needed a change. I’ve been solo for so long. It’ll make it interesting for me too. I enjoy playing with other people, I’m ready to work with other people. Before a concert, on your own, backstage, it can be super lonely, with the band you can rehearse, just be together … I’m ready to move on.”