Music


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Award-winning Singer-Songwriter, Allison Downey can make an audience in a 500-seat theatre feel like they’re in her living room. “Dynamic, energetic, intimate, masterful, genuine, honest, humorous, hilarious, charismatic” – just a few of the descriptors chosen by critics and audiences to describe Allison’s performances. With a voice reminiscent of Natalie Merchant, she’ll take you on a musical journey that spans the gamut of human emotions often making you laugh in mid-cry. Allison’s songs embody an organic, folksy sound, labeled “Midwestern Urban Folk” borrowing occasionally from other genres such as Folk-pop, Texas twang, and sultry Jazz. In song and performance Allison is a natural storyteller creating multi-dimensional characters in settings so rich with imagery that they reveal her training (MFA, Theatre) and experience as a theatre artist (and professor). A world traveler, Allison absorbs the sounds, scents, textures, landscapes, and seascapes of the places she visits. These experiences seep into the songs she writes as portraits, snapshots or vignettes. Christian Czerwinski of the Lansing NOISE explains “Allison Downey, … the singer with a honey-coated voice is also a playwright and writes songs that appeal to all of the senses. It’s as if she’s creating a scene on stage…” She might even transform into one of her alter-egos, “Carmen” or “Melba” for a song or two or slip into one of the stories she’s told for storytelling festivals , The Moth, or her radio show, The Living Room.

Allison Downey

Allison Downey

A native Washingtonian (DC), Allison honed her craft in Austin, TX before bringing her style of music to her current home of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She’s played cool venues from Joe’s Pub and The Living Room in NYC to The Ark in Ann Arbor to The Continental Club in Austin, Texas. She’s equally at home playing in big spaces like the Power Center (1300 sold-out seats!) in Ann Arbor or in the cozy living room of a house concert in Boston. She’s got two CD’s out, Across the Sea (2008), produced by Michael Crittenden of Mackinaw Harvest Records, and her debut, Wind at Your Back (Little Ditty Records, 2002), produced by Austin’s veteran performers Christine Albert & Chris Gage. Songs from both CDs have won awards and accolades, including the People’s Choice Award for Texas’ Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival Performing Songwriter Contest and XM Radio’s “Music to Life” Top 40 songs for Social Justice, hosted by Christine Lavin, for “Please Help”. She’s presented and showcased at conferences (Midwest Folk Alliance), performed at festivals (South Florida Folk Festival, Noreast’R), and taught workshops for conferences and festivals (Kerrville Folk Festival Song School). Her albums have received national, international and satellite radioplay.

SELECT VENUES

Listening Rooms:
Joe’s Pub (NYC)
The Living Room (NYC)
The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI)
Miller Auditorium (Kalamazoo, MI)
The Kraftbrau (Kalamazoo, MI)
Trinity House Theatre (Livonia, MI)
The Livery (Benton Harbor, MI)
International Folk Cultural Center Concerts (San Antonio, TX)
The Continental Club (Austin, TX)

House Concerts:
Barker Concert Series (Austin, TX)
Live Oak Concert Series (Austin, TX)
Moore House Music (Rockville, MD)
Focus Concert Series (Rockville, MD)
Vic’s Music Corner (Rockville, MD)
Kick Off Your Shoes Concert Series (MA)

Festivals:
Harmony Fest (Three Rivers, MI)
Noreast’r Music & Art Festival (Mio, MI)
South Florida Folk Festival (FL)
Susquehanna Music & Art Festival (MD)
Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting School (TX)

AWARDS

2008 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest
2nd Place Winner for “All that Matters”

2008 Music to Life Song Contest, Kerrville, TX
Semi-Finalist
“Please Help!” Aired on XM Radio’s “Music to Life Top 40” of songs for social justice, hosted by Christine Lavin.

2007 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival Performing Songwriter Contest
People’s Choice Winner!
“All that Matters” & “Almost”

2007 FARM Official Showcasing Artist, Chicago, IL
Midwest Regional Folk Alliance

2005 International Songwriting Competition
Quarter Finalist
“Wind at Your Back”

2004 Susquehanna Music & Arts Festival
Singer/Songwriter Contest Finalist
“Wind at Your Back” & “Cate’s Cradle”

2004 South Florida Festival Performing Songwriter Competition
Finalist
“Wind at Your Back” & “Cate’s Cradle”

2003 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival Performing Songwriter Contest
Semi-finalist
“Wind at Your Back” & “Fallen Angel”