Celebration and joy at heart of Allison Russell’s new album

The Montreal singer, songwriter, poet, activist and multi-instrumentalist comes to the NAC for the first time

Allison Russell is making serious waves in Canada and the US. In 2023, she released her second album The Returner, which made Obama’s top album list of the year. Her single “Eve Was Black” was The New York Times top track. This year she was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards and won for Best American Roots Performance. She is also nominated for the Songwriter of the Year JUNO Award.

In 2021, Russell released her first solo album Outside Child. The album explores her experiences during her youth, including her recovery from the trauma of her childhood abuse by her adoptive father and having a young mother who struggled with undiagnosed schizophrenia, all which lead to leaving home at 15 years old. This album was nominated for multiple awards, including Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Polaris Music Prize, to name a few.

“These traumas that we carry forward, they don’t totally disappear. But when we can talk about them and sing about them and reduce them to a manageable size, then we can grow around them,” Russell told NPR in a 2021 interview.

When working on her second album, The Returner, Russell sought to take a break from the difficult personal topics explored on Outside Child, and instead focused on grooves and celebration, and what she has called “survivor’s joy”. The album’s title was inspired by her friend Joni Mitchell, with whom she performed at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington last year.

She kicks off The Returner tour across Canada and the US this month. We are thrilled to welcome Allison Russell for her first performance at the NAC in the Babs Asper Theatre along with Aysanabee on Thursday, March 14.

Among his many accomplishments, Aysanabee was nominated for a 2023 JUNO Award for Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year, won three Indigenous Music Awards, a Jim Beam Indie Award, and a Folk Music Ontario Award for Recording Artist of the Year.

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