On May 21st, Allison Russell will release her first ever solo project, the highly anticipated Outside Child (produced by Dan Knobler) on Fantasy Records. She recently shared a gorgeous new track “Persephone” from the forthcoming debut.
Allison Russell on “Persephone”:“Persephone” is an homage to my first love – she helped me through my early days of being a teenage runaway and taught me that people can be kind… It’s about the healing joy of experiencing a consensual sexual awakening after a decade of abuse – and about the transformative rebirth that is possible when we begin to love and be loved with mutual care, respect and honesty.”
The poet, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist and co-founder of Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago, unpacks her youth in searing detail throughout Outside Child. “Persephone” follows “Nightflyer,” the album’s first single, which she shared last month.Born and raised in Montreal, Russell imbues her music with the colors of her city – the light, the landscape, the language – but also the trauma that she suffered there. It is a heartbreaking reflection on a childhood no one should have to endure, and at the same time a powerful and warm statement of hope – asserted from a place of healing, of motherhood, of partnership – and from a new home made in Nashville. The record features contributions from many of the artistic family members she has found there including producer Dan Knobler, Erin Rae, Jamie Dick, Joe Pisapia, The McCrary Sisters, Ruth Moody, Yola, and her partner JT Nero.
“It was just about making these songs live and breathe in the most honest way,” Russell says. “We were laughing, we were crying. And the communion between musicians, I hope people can hear that on the record. It felt like magic.”
“Outside Child, Russell added, “is about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” The album is both a radical reclamation of a traumatic childhood and lost home, and a lantern light for survivors of all stripes – a fervent reminder of the resuscitative power of art. “Allison’s new album, Outside Child, draws water from the dark well of a violent past,” says poet and songwriter Joe Henry.” “The songs themselves ––though iron-hard in their concerns–– are exultant: exercising haunted dream-like clean bedsheets snapped and hung out into broad daylight, and with the romantic poet’s lust for living and audacity of endurance.
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Photo Courtesy: Marc Baptiste