Allison Russell Announces Second Solo Album ‘The Returner’


allison russell He had one of the most acclaimed records of 2021 with his debut solo, “Outside Child,” despite reviews revealing how harsh his subject material was – or because of it. However, he is taking a break from “sad” with his second album “The Returner”, which was announced to be released on September 2. 8. It’s okay to call the album a party, albeit with an increased twin focus on groove and celebration, with the understanding that celebration is a celebration. tough Party.

“I thought about going back and what that meant to me,” Russell says. Variationoffers a preview of what you can expect from the late summer release. “And I thought about the joy of survivors and how we don’t talk enough about it.”

The taste of the 10-track album labeled Fantasy is delivered through the newly released title track. This time, Russell joined the production duties, co-producing and co-writing everything with Dim Star, the duo made up of Drew Lindsay and his partner in life and music, JT Nero. Apart from these two collaborators, nearly everyone involved in the recording of musician and tech levels is a woman, most of them are part of touring bands… and there are those who aren’t like the famous Sista Stings ensemble like Wendy and Lisa. .

The title of the album isn’t just about being his second solo record, though at least it’s unintentionally an apt moniker for a second-rate effort. Russell says the title of the album actually stems from his thoughts about it. Joni Mitchellwhich will open its own set at the Gorge in Washington state this Saturday. Brandi Carlile the previous night.

“It’s very appropriate that we’re having this conversation right now, because I’m about to go to the Gorge,” Russell says. “The word first came to me when we did the Joni Jam surprise last summer at the Newport Folk Festival. I wrote a poem about Joni and named her ‘The Lady Who Came Back’ in the poem. I thought about how much courage and grace he had as a human being to come back from the dead not once but three times and learn not only to sing and play, but to walk and talk. It was a very touching, intense experience with so many layers for me. Frankly, for the first time in my life, there was the joy of hearing and seeing him play again for me, live, at a time when no one thought he would be there for an hour and a half, singing songs and playing guitar. this never again. But at the same time, I was listening to him my whole being; My mother was listening to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ and ‘Clouds’ nonstop as a supposedly single young mother in 1979 in Montreal.

“But it’s a word with ever-changing layers to me, and I think it would have different meanings and ever-changing layers to a resonant listener.”

The album is less autobiographically focused than her breakthrough, with extensive notes explaining the elements of her life story that go into the lyrics. By contrast, in “The Returner,” he says, “You can dive deep into these songs if you want, but there’s no need. You can feel them too. You know, these songs to move. It’s about getting back into your own body and celebrating it. It’s like celebratory music for when you’re tired of hating yourself and deciding you’re worthy of it. … I hope people feel some of the joy in this recording.

Russell had many reasons to enter the recording of “The Returner” with great confidence. “Outside Child” was nominated for multiple Grammys at the Americana Honors & Awards in 2022, after topping or near the top of many critics’ top 10 lists of 2021, including the New York Times, and album of the year. won the award. And Variation‘S. It’s fair to say that he’s one of the stars of the Americana genre with just one album (after having been part of many album projects with bands or duos including Nero before) – a record that’s undeniably endearing but also uncompromisingly childhood-themed. abuse and finding health, freedom and community as an adult.

“The way this recording was born was so playful and deliberate, but I kind of supported ‘Outside Child,'” says Russell. “And even when I was in the studio, I was in denial of the fact that I was recording a solo because I was still so colonized in my mind with thoughts of my own worthlessness that I couldn’t really imagine stepping forward yet to myself and my own story. A global epidemic and almost three years of not working. So, for the last two years, we’ve been making people celebrate music, and I’ve been making my community, my chosen family, and my community, my chosen family and “I see the Rainbow Coalition circle getting bigger and bigger. All these magical secret garden gates are opening up like never before in my life.”

Cover image of Allison Russell “The Return”

This acceptance probably didn’t hurt as much as influencing the more rhythmic-based tone of the new music. “Getting out of the roots ghetto was so much fun that sometimes I get lost in it. My default is usually to go the murder ballad route or something,” she laughs. “And it was so exciting and liberating for Drew to imagine these grooved tracks for the banjo-focused pieces I wrote, and it took my imagination elsewhere.”

But the record was already on its way to a more upbeat sound. The final song in “Outside Child” was the teaser of a sequel that asked a rhetorical question after all the seriousness: “Where are all the jolly motherfuckers?” The answer is that they are all following him. The album begins with “Spring” and begins with the words “Adieu, adieu, to that tunnel I went through… My reward, my reward, the spring of my present”.

“Earlier in the ‘Outside Child’ campaign, we were already dreaming of this record. And it’s more of a sequel, but it can also stand alone. You know, people don’t have to be on the ‘Outside Child’ journey to get this recording, or even know anything about me. While ‘Outside Child’ is of course so deeply autobiographical, it’s essentially like a musical memoir. And now I’m working on it memory-memoir”—a book he’s still working on Writing for Flatiron Books – “which, I must say, is much sadder than writing a musical memoir.”

The upcoming record is “an album about being here and being here now, consciously celebrating the fact that every single one of us who breathes and exists on the planet is surviving the epidemic, every life form.” , and we are here and we are together and we can dance and cheer up. Now, as we all know, we are in a truly terrifying cyclical resurgence of fascism, not just in this country but globally, and this is the time when we need to hold each other’s hands loudest and most celebratory. While everyone is telling us that we should hate each other for our differences, that’s when we celebrate our richness, our glorious differences, even louder.”

Allison Russell (Photo: Dana Trippe)

Russell, as the musicians of the album Chauntee Ross and Monique Ross, aka SistaStrings, plus Elenna Canlas, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, Ganessa James, Joy Clark, Kerenza Peacock, Larissa Maestro, Lisa Coleman, Mandy Fer, Meg Coleman, Meg McCormick, Wendy Melvoin and Victoria Bialic. The closing song features background vocals by Brandy Clark and Hozier, along with her biggest supporter, Carlile. Among the handful of men who contributed, Russell is excited to discover Brandon Bell, who recorded and mixed the album and had previously worked with both Brandi and Brandy.

The record will be up to date with the digital release, which he says has had a great impact on the recording program.

The album “really captured this moment, immediate, joyful, putting together (feeling) and we only had six days and that’s what we did, you know? Because they are, we constrained people’s time, budget and just time to deliver the record before the deadline so that we can get the record this year. Because of the record deadline, “we put all the sessions aside for almost three months and did it at the end of December. And it was such a fortuitous move and we finally recorded on the winter solstice and the last day of viewing was December 22. It was so powerful and resonant that little Our witch circle put together this record in six days.”

The album can be pre-ordered Here. “Returning” track list:

1.Spring (04:11)

2. Returning (03:51)

3. Not All In (03:13)

4. Demons (04:29)

5. Eve Was Black (06:04)

6. Stay Here (4:10)

7. Land of Shadows (4:13)

8. Cloth Boy (03:04)

9. Snake Life (04:38)

10. Lament (6:14)

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