Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Russell had been hiding in plain view in Nashville for the best part of a decade before her debut release, Outside Child, won Album of the Year at the 2022 Americana Music Awards in her adopted hometown.
Until the album’s release, Russell was best known as part of Our Native Daughters with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Amythyst Kiah. With Outside Child, Russell has taken to centre stage with an album whose deeply personal experiences have struck a chord in the hearts of Americana fans.
Music City has embraced this former runaway child, who at the age of 15 chose life on the streets ahead of life at home with an abusive stepfather. Nashville made her feel secure for possibly the first time in her life and this sanctuary made it possible to reflect with a clear focus on her early years.
In her music you can hear blues, soul, gospel, as well as several shades of country.
Outside Child was only three months in the writing and four days in the recording. Of course, it was also 40 years in the living. All songs are connected to memories of her unspeakably tough childhood. Russell herself describes the process as “like sucking the poison from a snakebite.”
It speaks of her deep pain and scars, yet it is filled with an unshakable joy of living, of surviving.
Upon release of the album, Russell was invited to take part in the 2021 edition of Farm Aid. She returned this year where she said from the stage, “the first 15 years were rough but let me tell you that these last couple of decades have been nothing but joy upon joy. And there is no joy stronger that survivor’s joy.”
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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit With Allison Russell
Wednesday, April 5th
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday, April 6th
Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
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