Allison Crowe, who is originally from Nanaimo, is back in Sidney next month. (Handout)

Allison Crowe returns to Sidney

When reached by phone, singer-songwriter Allison Crowe was in Hawaii — and it was her birthday. She was there for only one more day, so she was keen to absorb as much sunshine as she could before returning home to Corner Brook, Nfld.

She will soon be coming back to the Mary Winspear Centre on Dec. 15, with additional dates in Vancouver and Nanaimo, and she is looking forward to playing near her hometown because “it’s like seeing friends you haven’t seen all year.”

She will be playing a mix of songs from her 2004 album Tidings, which has classic Christmas tunes and covers of classics from Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and the Beatles, but she will also include some newer material. She has released 24 albums, and she agrees that she could be considered prolific.

“I feel uncomfortable not writing. If a lot of time goes by, I don’t feel like I’m doing my job unless I’m recording and writing something!”

She wrote a new album’s worth of material at the start of this year, and some of the recordings are now done.

“My writing is very personal. It’s kind of like writing in a journal for me, in a way, and what I see in the world,” she said.

Crowe’s sound has changed as she has accumulated new life experienced and new instruments. Her time in Newfoundland has injected her music with Irish folk influences, and she’s picked up the fiddle, which she said has changed the chords and structures of her songs.

“Part of why I enjoy picking up a new instrument is it forces me to simplify things…and then sometimes I get bored and want to complicate things again.”

Crowe is touring with Salt Spring Island cellist Céline Sawchuk, who recently immigrated from Dennach, near the Black Forest in Germany, so there will be some traditional German Christmas songs in the mix. Sawchuk designed Crowe’s show posters about three years ago before asking her manager if Crowe needed a cello player. Crowe was keen and said yes.

“Of course, it turns out that we’ve become really good friends and she’s also an amazing singer as well, so it’s really great.”

For tickets, call the Mary Winspear Centre box office at 250-656-0275 or visit marywinspear.ca.

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