Open Close

Allison Crowe Autumn Show with Lena Birtwistle – an anniversary celebration and more

Internationally-acclaimed recording artist Allison Crowe comes to Ladysmith for a special night of music billed as “an Anniversary celebration and more”. She joins Vancouver Island singer-songwriter and radio-host Lena Birtwistle in concert at Ladysmith First United Church, Friday, September 23 at 8 pm.

Since 2006, home for the Nanaimo, B.C.- born Crowe is Corner Brook, Newfoundland. It’s another, friendly, island community and a comfortable hopping-off point for Europe where the musician regularly tours. Each Christmas season, on  Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Allison Crowe presents her much-loved “Tidings” concert series.

Allison Crowe

This year serendipity brings Allison Crowe west well before any snow falls. At summer’s outset, Crowe received a message from Ladysmith’s Jayse Van Rooyen who wrote eloquently about her Mom, Sue Bonde, and step-Dad, Guy Wolfe – of their loving bond through life’s ups and downs. Jayse explained: “I want to do something special for them and show them that after all of these years of being the most incredible parents my sister, Bryn, and I could ever ask for they are still immensely appreciated.”

Allison Crowe is a favourite singer of Jayse and Bryn’s parents and their 13th wedding anniversary is September 1. When a recording project opened a window for Allison to fly to this coast later this month a surprise concert was arranged. Now the secret is out – and everyone in the Island community is invited to share in the fun. Adding to the festive air, Allison Crowe’s independent music label, Rubenesque Records, reaches the 10-year mark with this show.

Allison Crowe’s live set mixes voice, piano, and guitar – and genres from rock to folk, jazz, pop and soul. Audiences ’round the world thrill to her passionate music. Reviewers describe the experience as “amazing” and “transcendent” – looking to an array of artists – Edith Piaf, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and Eddie Vedder among them – for comparisons. Still, as tv/radio personality Vicki Gabereau says, there is no one else like Allison Crowe.

Singularly acclaimed as an original songwriter, and for freshly definitive takes on songs by Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles and everything from traditional aires to classics and grunge. Crowe has just released a double-A-side single, “Arthur”, “Up to the Mountain”. Her authentic music videos have an audience of over 11 million viewers on YouTube, and, collectively, Allison Crowe’s recordings have been watched, played, streamed and downloaded in numbers greater than the entire population of Canada.

Lena Birtwistle opens this night of music with a distinctive set of folk/pop songs tinged with country hues.


 The singer/songwriter, for whom Ladysmith is home, has been delivering her music and quirky sense of humour to Island audiences for the last six years. Citing such inspirations as Feist, Fleetwood Mac, Eva Cassidy, and Tom Waits, her songs and stories are blended with a touch that’s very much her own. Alongside a focus on solo performances, Lena Birtwistle works with musician Sid Johnson. The rock/roots based duo released their debut EP, “Empires”, in 2009 and are busy creating new recordings. Birtwistle is also a familiar voice as the affable host of 89.7 Sun FM’s “Organic Tuneage” – a Sunday night radio program via which Lena shares her love and appreciation for the region’s abundant riches in home-grown music talent.

Allison Crowe’s Autumn Show with Lena Birtwistle celebrates love, music, and home – and more! Tickets for this concert at Ladysmith First United Church, a lovely venue with a fine piano and acoustics, are available at In the Beantime Café and Salamander Books in Ladysmith, Toad Hall Emporium in Chemainus and online  Advance/$20 General/$15 Students and Seniors (Door: $22/$17).

Allison Crowe in concert. Photo: Billie Woods

Jayse and Lena. Photo: Rob Johnson

Jayse Van Rooyen and Lena Birtwistle. Photo: Rob Johnson



About the author: Laurie Gourlay

Laurie loves organic farming.

  1. Adrian says:

    Thanks to all the Take 5 team for your great support – and ability to keep a secret 🙂

    Allison Crowe, (with whom I work), is very excited to be coming to Ladysmith for this concert and anniversary celebration!! Lena Birtwistle, as everyone knows, is so much fun – it’s going to be very special coming home to friends, old and new.

    Thanks, Jayse, for planting the seed – and, with your sister, sharing the love of your parents!!

    We look forward to meeting you all!