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Tidings of music

Allison Crowe to give two free Christmas concerts



By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Tidings

Who: Allison Crowe

When: Dec. 24 & 25

Where: Telus Conference Centre

Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit with free concerts from Allison Crowe Dec. 24 and 25 at the Telus Conference Centre as part of the A Whistler Holiday series.

The Nanaimo native will sing holiday songs from her album Tidings for the solo piano show.

“The show will be a mix of half traditional Christmas songs and half with the holiday spirit,” she said.

A few songs to look forward to include a jazzy rendition of In the Bleak Mid Winter and a gospel-driven O Holy Night, rounding off a night with songs of joy, peace and redemption. Her renditions of songs by The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Sarah McLachlan also join the Tidings lineup.

Tidings was originally created as a one-hour television special aired on Chum’s A-Channel network three years ago. The special became an album, one of only two holiday releases the Toronto Sun awarded four stars — the other album was The Christmas Collection from Frank Sinatra.

“The high concept seasonal sampler is a triumph,” raved Joseph Blake of the Victoria Times Colonist.

In addition to spirited holiday stylings, Crowe will also draw from the music on her latest album The Little Bird . Crowe was a bit of a bird herself in recording the 12-song collection as she flew between the Gulf Islands and Newfoundland. Sometimes working in recording studios on Salt Spring Island other times playing the piano at her boyfriend’s restaurant in the Maritimes, Crowe was able to record where and when creative inspiration struck, thanks to her computer and the desire to produce her music for the first time on her own.

“Sound-wise the album was a bit more experimental,” she said. “It was great to work on my own schedule and have total creative input. It’s neat to produce yourself and get what you want and sound the way you want to sound. It was challenging learning how to use the equipment, but I was always paying attention in the studio and learning as I was going along.”

The Little Bird is Crowe’s fifth album. And while she enjoyed the recording process, she looks forward to touring and getting out on stage.

“I prefer performing to the recording studio,” she said. “Recording is more about the technical side of things, which I would rather ignore. (Laughs). It’s great to be on a stage and have that reaction from the audience. Recording is good for me. It forces you to analyze things a bit more — totally different experiences.”

Crowe completed her second European tour this summer, with stops in England, Ireland and Scotland.

She looks forward to spending Christmas in Whistler and putting in some serious powder time on her snowboard.

There are two chances to get into the Crowe Christmas spirit with free performances Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. and Christmas Day at 4 p.m. in the Telus Conference Centre.