Well, here’s the news we’ve been waiting for – the new solo Allison Russell album will be out on Fantasy Records on May 21st and it will be called ‘Outside Child‘. The first song released from the album is ‘Nightflyer‘ and you’ve doubtless already noticed that the video is below. It’s an album that explores Russell’s youth, and most readers will probably be aware that the Birds of Chicago/Our Native Daughters singer and musician did not have an easy childhood. It’s something that Allison Russell has movingly spoken of: “I grew up afraid and ashamed all of the time. I learned to make myself very small and very quiet in order to survive. My adoptive father – my primary abuser – was intensely controlling of all aspects of my life and of our constantly shifting households. He was particularly tyrannical about what we were allowed to listen to. Almost anything written after 1820 was banned. Anything not written or appropriated by a white man was banned. I ran away at 15 to escape his violence…and a whole new universe of sound opened up to me. Music saved my life.” The album ‘Outside Child,’ is, says Russell, “about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.”
On ‘Nightflyer‘ the mood is very much one of quiet resolve and pride in Russell’s overcoming of her childhood trauma and her joy in the redemptive power of motherhood, as she conveys in the song’s lines “I am the mother of the evening star / I am the love that conquers all”. For Allison Russell this is “the most defiantly triumphant, hopeful line I’ve ever written…that’s about the birth of my daughter and how that transformed me.”
Recorded in Nashville, the music on ‘Outside Child‘ includes a host of collaborators including producer Dan Knobler, Erin Rae, Jamie Dick, Joe Pisapia, The McCrary Sisters, Ruth Moody, Yola, and, naturally, Russell’s partner JT Nero.