Allison Russell

Allison Russell is by no means a new artist — recent items on her résumé include work as part of the groundbreaking band Our Native Daughters, and she cut her teeth as part of roots acts Po’ Girl and Birds of Chicago. Outside Child is her solo debut, though, and the collection introduces us to Russell in a way we haven’t yet seen her. Much of the album grapples with the sexual abuse Russell suffered as a child, as on the gut-wrenching “4th Day Prayer,” which includes the lyric, “Father used me like a wife.” Overall, though, the album is a redemptive affair, one that finds hope in life’s darkest corners. The fact that it does so with such achingly beautiful music, too, is a rare feat and a gift to us all.

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