Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Allison Russell was born in Montreal, where music became an outlet to escape her troubled home.
From that early interest, Russell joined the Canadian roots act Po'Girl in the early aughts.
Eventually, she began collaborating with her future husband, Chicago-based singer/songwriter J.T. Nero, on his project mountains/forests until the pair eventually formed their own duo, Birds of Chicago, in 2012.
They released several albums together until Birds of Chicago went on indefinite hiatus in 2021, as Russell turned her attention to her solo career with the release of her debut solo album Outside Child.
Russell is also a member of Our Native Daughters, alongside Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Leyla McCalla. The group released their debut album, Songs of Our Native Daughters, in 2019.
What’s particularly special about Russell’s choices and the stories behind them, is how they relate directly to the autobiographical nature of her own record. Having dealt with such trauma and abuse growing up, music and writing have been a vehicle for her to make sense of it and find her way out. Each of her choices tell part of that story.
One of the real joys AmericanaFest has to offer is not only the opportunity to enjoy more familiar fare, but also to discover new up-and-coming performers who are showcasing their music for the first time.
The trio performed a special version of Russell's single 'Nightflyer'.