Allison Lupton is launching Words of Love on March 30
Allison Lupton is an accomplished singer-songwriter who performs self-penned and traditional songs with sensitivity and grace, while adding an extra dimension to her stage presence through her virtuoso flute playing. Born and raised on a second generation dairy farm in rural Ontario, Allison has always been immersed in Canadian folk life, but it took a love and intense study of Irish and Celtic music for her to find her way to the Canadian folk music tradition that she’s grown up around.
Allison – a Canadian Folk Music Award nominee for her work with the trio The Lucky Sisters and a Folk Music Ontario Songs from the Heart grand prize award-winner in 2015 – has recorded three solo CDs and been featured on CBC Radio’s Vinyl Café and BBC Radio’s nan Gàidheal. Always a festival favourite, she recently toured the UK performing at the Hebridean Celtic and the Warwick Folk Festivals among others.
It’s her unique voice and brilliant flute-playing that captivate audiences, and it’s evident in the new album Words of Love, which showcases her original material, – songs that fit so perfectly into the cannon of Canadian folk music that they could easily be mistaken for traditional numbers.
Common themes of itinerant labour, eternal love, and family history run throughout the album, with Allison’s piercing voice perfectly matched to the material.
On “Away,” timeless truth is ensconced in a traditional Gaelic-style folk tune, fittingly carried “away” on some sublime fiddle playing during the instrumental breaks.
“When First I Went to Caledonia” is as pretty and profound a love song as you’ll ever hear, featuring a gorgeous, yearning penny whistle and a heart-rending violin.
The title track is a sweetly percolating love song based on an old love letter found in an ancient church during renovations, and it features rare backing vocals and lovely solos all around.
Moving to a slightly different feel, “Lost Jimmy Whalen” is a log driver ballad, a spooky, slow-building version of a traditional Ontario folk song, where a grieving lover calls her deceased sweetheart Jimmy back from the grave. It peaks with a distinct fiddle solo. This piece is as honeyed and haunting as a good traditional Celtic piece should be.
“Ontario Tune Set” you’d find in any session at any given Irish pub on a weekend late-afternoon; it’s three fiddle tunes strung together for a guaranteed good time. These are all from Ontario, and Allison’s flute really shines here.
Allison’s originals really are notable, such as “I Will Rise,” an uptempo anthem of determination, inspired by the strength and courage of loved ones.
And then there is the final track, “The Grand River Waltz,” an achingly beautiful, wordless tribute to the glory and beauty of the Southern Ontario river that could easily stand with any sweet, slow traditional Gaelic tune you’d care to name. It’s a soft and lilting waltz with strings and flute that harkens back to an earlier era where the water would have been as pristine and sparkling as this melody. It has a short melodic strain that is reminiscent of the traditional Irish piece “The Parting Glass.”
With her new album, Words of Love, Allison has positioned herself securely among Canadian folk music’s finest contributors.
See Allison live March 30 at Hugh’s Room Live, Toronto, ON (Album launch show)!