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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Annie Crane - Jump With A Child
Jump With A Child's Heart\r\n
image © Constant Clip Records 2011

Annie Crane
Annie Crane delights her audiences
click image to visit Annie's MySpace
photo © Howard Linton 2011

(03 December 2011) Americana singer/songwriter Annie Crane calls to mind folk legends Joni Mitchell, Gillian Welch and Sandy Denny and is, according to Nashville documentarian and music writer Craig Havighurst, "fashioning folk music in a modernist and urbane guise." She writes of immigrant histories and of personal love. Annie has toured internationally, spreading her voice and poetry from Copenhagen to Kentucky, from Berlin to Albany, NY, and from Paris to Nashville where she shared the stage with folk icon Emmylou Harris at the inaugural Music City Roots’ Live from the Loveless Cafe. Based in NYC, she has played some of the city’s most celebrated venues such as Rockwood Musichall, The Bitter End, Sidewalk Cafe, and The Living Room and has shared the stage with The Bowmans, The Wowz, Jill Andrews of the Everybody Fields, Au Revoir Simone, Jean Ritchie, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, and Emmylou Harris.

Classically trained in her hometown of Rochester, New York at the Eastman School of Music, Annie Crane is now a New Yorker whose blend of folk, Americana and traditional Celtic sounds transport listeners to worldly locales while retaining an urban edge that is the unmistakable influence of her adopted city. The theme of Crane's sophomore album Jump With A Child’s Heart (Constant Clip Records (USA), 2011), the follow-up to her 2009 debut Through The Farmlands & The Cities, explores what it means to come to the city with the dream and what it takes to make it come true.

The album’s title track speaks to those dreamers directly. "The song reminds them that without giving time effort, time will owe you nothing," Crane explains. "It is me asking them to do it without complaint, to do it honestly and with the purity of a child’s heart. This sentiment is what this album is for me; committing to a goal and seeing it through in the face of self-doubt and practical thinking, knowing that time will one day tell me the outcome, but that I am the one who can define it."

Crane's own commitment to her goals has resulted in mythical songs that weave together classic 60's folk, indie pop and rock, traditional Irish music and Americana influences arriving at a unique sound that is confident and all her own. Reminding of legends such as Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell and Gillian Welch, Crane has reached far and wide with her music with live performances logged from Copenhagen to Kentucky and from Berlin to Albany. In Paris, Crane was recognized as "one of the most pure talents from the real New York scene" and in Nashville she shared the stage with one of her icons, Emmylou Harris.

Crane has also played the essential NYC venues that have launched so many beloved songwriters before her. Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End and The Living Room all saw Annie Crane performances soon after her move to New York in 2006. "It was really with my move that I began pursuing a music career," Crane says. "I worked a 9AM to 7PM day job, came home and practiced guitar every night." It was at the famed Sidewalk Cafe that Crane began to climb the ladder. "I started hitting open mics and by the end of the year I was attending the Sidewalk's 'Anti-Hoot' every Monday night for about a year. It was there that I gained recognition and support."

Two of the supporters Crane met during that period include fellow songwriters Frank Hoier and Eric Wolfson. Hoier went on to co-produce and perform on Jump With A Child's Heart and Wolfson not only plays on the new record, but he is now Crane's husband. Of the new album, recorded at Red Hook, Brooklyn’s Ohm Studios and released on Constant Clip Records, Crane says, "I see this album as a step towards the kind of artist I aim to be. One that is true to what I have to offer. I feel more at home with this record than I do with anything I’ve done before."

In addition to Hoier and Wolfson, guests include trumpeter Jason Benjamin, founder of The Red Hook Ramblers, Sarah Bowman of internationally acclaimed Americana duo, The Bowmans, and banjo maven Alexa Woodward. Along with the title track, other songs on the record detail many of Crane’s New York City experiences including "Money Only Hates Me" about a period in 2008 when Crane lost her voice. "Instead of it coming back in a few weeks, it remained somewhere far away for nearly three months which caused me to lose my job as a tour guide," Crane remembers. "I eventually started working at a chain restaurant where I did my best to keep talking to a minimum and creeped out many a customer by leaning in too close to speak. As my voice slowly came back, I wrote this song."

"The song 'Hells Gate' was written for a benefit compilation after the BP oil spill In it, I compare the oil to the Biblical creature Leviathan, the monster that guards Hell's gate and who, in old sailor myth, is the monster that attacks ships at sea." Additional album highlights include "Ghost Body" which Crane describes as her "Flannery O'Connor-influenced literary piece; dark and painfully truthful. It’s the story of an old man’s ghost looking down on his dead body and hearing what his wife has to say about him when she thinks no one else is listening."

"Copenhagen Heart" is a true story of Crane's first European tour, a trip unexpectedly extended due to the volcanic ash from Iceland which closed down all air travel in Europe for nearly a week. "I was struck in Paris, which would normally be a dream, but it was a month or so before my wedding and I desperately wanted to be home." The solo track "Salinger Said" takes the idea from J. D. Salinger's Franny & Zooey, that it is harder to be an everyday, regular person than it is to be someone in the limelight.

"Am I good enough to pursue what I’m pursuing or should I take the harder road and just be ‘normal’ where I get no applause for, say, cooking?" It's a reasonable question and one that is succinctly answered when spending time listening to Annie Crane's Jump With A Child's Heart album. It is a record that shows off the talents of an accomplished singer potand songwriter continuing to fulfill her ential. Chances are that she would probably earn plenty applause as a cook too.

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