By Nancy Maggio
(WINDSOR, ON) – I want to folk. So much so, I’m heading to my first folk concert this Saturday, October 15. I was given the opportunity to see Allison Brown and the Assembly Line at KordaZone Theatre as well as a chance to speak with the woman herself.
Although I had never heard of her, as soon as I heard the word “folk” I was in.
My favourite musical genre is rock and all of its offspring, but folk music is at the nucleus of the spirit of rock music. I believe folk singers to be the purest, rawest, most honest of rock performers, just deconstructed.
They’re electronic free, vulgarity free, acoustically unplugged, and lyrically similar to much of the same messages contained in rock music; optimism, coming together, common ground, peace. Folks singers hung with the best of them, politely singing about love, nature, and social justice.
How was I to know, before I called Allison, that she would blow my mind right from her friendly hello? Of course she’s nice, she’s a folk singer. But it’s much more.
After my initial who, what, and where questions, we moved on to some deeper issues.
I asked her, “If there was one theme in your music you would like to convey, what would it be?” After some pause, Allison replied she would like for traditional musical forms to be kept alive, music that transcends generations and genres with meaning and purpose. To bridge gaps.
And then she blew my mind. She wrote a song about the old Grace Hospital site, All Our Emergencies.
Bad luck and bad decisions, stitches, and incisions,
All our disease,
All our emergencies,
We just throw them at her feet”
Allison wrote this to commemorate not only the old building, but the caregivers, it’s patients, the principles on which it was built, “souls checking in and souls checking out,” as well as it’s decay, and demise.
Speaking of soul, she has a ton of it; in her words and her observations. Scavengers speaks to the semi-underground scrap metal business in Windsor.
Allison Brown writes, sings, and cares about l’il ol’ Windsor. Sure, she’s lived in other, bigger cities, though her heart is in Windsor.
Originally from the county, Allison attended Sandwich High School and credits a teacher for helping her to hone her craft. When she moved back to the Windsor area in 2013, returning from London, she decided to settle in the city, near the Grace site.
Her early musical influences include Canadian folk singer Penny Lang, who passed away this summer. Others include Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt.
Allison hopes to stay in Windsor as she feels the local music scene is bursting with “inspiring musical talent.”
Is it ever.