Outside Child

Outside Child

Allison Russell has long been a fixture of the roots scene, crafting melodic roots-pop as part of the duo Birds of Chicago and inventive, socially conscious folk with the acclaimed supergroup Our Native Daughters. The Nashville-based, Montreal-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist steps out on her own on her debut album, an expertly rendered and powerfully delivered collection that proves Russell to be just as adept a solo artist as she is a collaborator. (Though, in the spirit of collaboration, Russell invites friends and fellow musicians like Yola, Erin Rae, and the McCrary Sisters to join her.) Thematically, Outside Child navigates difficult terrain—such as abuse, neglect, and racism—though it does so with an undercurrent of healing, transformation, and compassion. In an album full of standout moments, it’s hard not to point to “4th Day Prayer,” a brutally frank recollection of Russell’s sexual abuse at the hands of her adoptive father, built atop a soulful, gospel-adjacent arrangement that suggests empowerment rather than victimhood. Russell is one of roots music’s finest musicians in any form, but with Outside Child, she stakes her claim as one of its finest visionaries too.

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