Allison Crowe and Lena Birtwistle reuniting for Ladysmith concert

Allison Crowe will perform with Lena Birtwistle Sept. 8 at Ladysmith First United Church.

Allison Crowe is performing with Lena Birtwistle Sat.

Allison Crowe is performing with Lena Birtwistle Sat.

They’re at it again.

Last year’s Anniversary Celebration and More was so much fun that musicians Allison Crowe and Lena Birtwistle are reuniting for a concert at Ladysmith First United Church on Sat., Sept. 8.

This occasion helps celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary of Ladysmith’s Sue Bonde and Guy Wolfe, whose daughters Jayse and Bryn contacted Crowe in the hopes of arranging something special for their folks last year. The night also marks the 11th anniversary for Crowe’s music label, Rubenesque Records.

During her concerts, Crowe, who was born in Nanaimo and now lives in Newfoundland, mixes voice, piano and guitar and mixes genres — from rock to folk, jazz, pop and soul — to feature original music, along with select covers, including her acclaimed interpretations of Leonard Cohen and such artists as The Lovin’ Spoonful, Patty Griffin and Aretha Franklin.

Crowe loves performing and having a chance to communicate with people in the audience.

“For me, I find performing to be a huge release,” she said. “It’s so much fun for me, and I get so much out of performing for other people that I hope they get as much out of it as I do. I feel so good after performing that I almost need to do it. That connection you get between you and the audience is just an amazing thing.”

Crowe has been a professional musician for half her life, performing since she was 16 years old.

“I just kind of started doing it,” she said. “I was really lucky; I had a lot of really great music teachers growing up, and I went in all the band programs and took jazz programs in the summer, so there was always something.”

Crowe says she continues to be inspired by the same people who inspired her at the beginning of her career, including Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple and Tori Amos. Right now, she is listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine, Laura Marling and Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart.

For more than a decade, Crowe’s life has been one of constant recording and touring, but this year, she is taking a different tack.

Staying put in North America, she’s music director of Newfoundland Vinyl, a smash hit at this summer’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival.

Crowe is also busy off-stage with film and documentary projects and on-stage with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB).

This past May, Crowe performed Hallelujah for the world premiere run of The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen — the RWB’s new, Cohen-inspired ballet. Crowe performed with the RWB in Winnipeg this May, and she will now be heading on tour with them for East Coast dates in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia.

“I get to sing for them and also just watch some beautiful ballet; it’s a pretty awesome experience,” she said. “There’s Leonard Cohen music with some of his words as well, excerpts of interviews. It comes together really beautifully.”

Local singer-songwriter, music teacher and radio host Lena Birtwistle launches this Ladysmith event with her distinctive guitar and piano songs. Citing diverse inspirations such as Eva Cassidy, Fleetwood Mac, Neko Case, Steve Poltz and Barenaked Ladies, Birtwistle delivers folk/pop songs tinged with country hues and humour. Her uniquely bright personality shines through solo work and group projects The Adamantines (with Sid Johnson) and Kendall Patrick and the Headless Bettys (alongside Patrick and Jen Carnahan). Birtwistle is currently recording her next solo album.

Crowe is looking forward to performing with Birtwistle again, as they have become good friends over the years.

“I’ve known her for years now, and she’s amazing,” she said. “She’s so talented and so nice and so much fun to be around, so I’m excited to see her again.”

Together, Crowe and Birtwistle will celebrate love, music, home and more Sat., Sept. 8 at First United Church at 232 High St. in Ladysmith. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $15 for students and seniors in advance or $22 and $17 at the door. Advance tickets are available at In the Beantime Café and Salamander Books or online.