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Review of As the Crowe Flies by: Jan Wollman

For her debut show last year, Joan Crowe had a considerable amount of good press in this and other publications, but until this recent go-round, she was just a name to me. Now I’m sorry I didn’t catch her earlier because the lady totally captivated me. She and her show are stunning. She can do it all and in several styles. She’s at home with contemporary pop, has a strong jazz feeling, and the voice to move you with a serious ballad plus the time to tickle you with comedy.

The act hits on all levels. It is very personal. She speaks with great affection of her mother who was German and a fan of Marlene Dietrich, which leads her into some hilarious sinning in German and a tribute to that star. She alludes to her suburban life and makes it charming when she sings “Them There Eyes” as if to her kids and she tells of her close association with the late songwriter, Tom Brown, whose work was the focus of her previous show. So many performers seem to go too far with “The Story of My Life” kind of thing which can leave an audience yawning, “who cares?”. With her, it is like a book you can’t put down and it never becomes too much. The songs are varied and interesting in themselves. My favorites in the humor department were “Surrey With the Fringe on Top” sung in German and a recreation of the U.S.O. show that Dietrich did playing the musical saw. But it is not all just fun and games. “Back When We Were Beautiful” (Matraca Berg) could break your heart. Her musicians, Brian Hurley (piano) and Ben Mauro (bass) accompanied her sensitively and their back-up vocals added musical strength.

Since her successful first show at Don’t Tell Mama last year, Ms. Crowe has been getting a lot of attention at cabaret venues around the country. Here in New York, she appeared in an ASCAP showcase and this year’s Cabaret Convention. If you have not yet had the pleasure, I suggest you watch for upcoming dates. If you have seen her, I’m sure you are already a fan and are waiting impatiently for her next show, as I am.