How do you get to know the kind of people who inhabit a place? The answers can be complex but I do know that the kind of lives they led are reflected in their songs. The kind of music we listen to might not really say everything but it says something about who we are and the kind of values we have As the background notes in the CD say: “…The album’s 10 tracks traverse parlour songs to country tunes and folk favorites, songs of land and sea that share the strength and the struggles, the heart-breaks and the humour of people.”
There are albums that focus more on the personal struggles of the singer/songwriter. But there are those that explore the encyclopedic aspect of songwriting and bringing the song history to the fore. This is where the work of Allison Crowe proves its importance to contemporary music. She has mapped the culture of Newfoundland and gave each song an up to date delivery that transcends time.
The style of Newfoundland Vinyl echoes the sound of old vinyl records. This can be heard in the opening track Black Velvet Band where her voice takes the nostalgia of parlour songs during the early part of the 20th century. Her strong voice and upfront delivery shine in Easy. The backing vocals owes much to the African-American gospel choir. The project was the result of her involvement with the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. She is now curating and arranging songs for the Summer fest. She expressed her happiness in this project saying “I get to work with extremely talented and fun people each Summer in a gorgeous setting.”
There are dark humorous moments in this album like Seven Old Ladies.
” And it’s-Oh dear, what can the matter be?
Seven old ladies locked in the lavat’ry
They were there from Saturday to Sunday
and nobody knew they were there.”
The variety of rhythms expressed in this album make Newfoundland Vinyl an exciting album to listen to. I found myself wrapping a blanket up, sipping tea while watching the rain outside. There is something about this album that makes the songs become the soundtrack of your life. The grace and subtlety in the instrumental and vocal arrangements make this a one of a kind must have album for 2013. There is that stripped down atmosphere in every track like it’s an unplugged concert. I am sure that you might have heard some of the songs and sometimes you wonder about their origins. Now you know.
Did you know?
In the movie “Man of Steel”, the Zack Snyder-directed Superman epic, she has a cameo – as a musician performing “Ring of Fire”, a song made famous by Johnny Cash.