Allison Russell: High Line Bash 2023
A night of spectacular music, decadent food and drink, and celebration, this year's WFUV High Line Bash takes place on Friday, May 12, at New York's City Winery. Buy tickets here, before they sell out. As our listeners know, we've lined up a formidable five artists and bands: The Hold Steady, Allison Russell, Allison Ponthier, Brandi and the Alexanders, and Joe McGinty's Superstar Piano Bar. Each week leading up to the Bash, a focus on those musicians who will make our very special night shine:
The travails and triumphs of Allison Russell’s life are reflected in the arresting honesty, tenderness, and wisdom of her songs. The Juno Award-winning, Grammy-nominated Montréal-born songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet, and activist broke through as a solo artist in 2021 with her autobiographical album debut, Outside Child, but she is equally known for her collaborative groups, including co-founding Our Native Daughters (with Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, and Leyla McCalla), Birds of Chicago (with JT Nero), and Po’ Girl (with Trish Klein).
Now based in Nashville, Russell unearthed her traumatic childhood and teenage memories of Montréal in Outside Child; she describes the album as encompassing “resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” With cutting eloquence and a soprano that soars like a murmuration of swallows, Russell’s English and French lyrics don’t shy from the abuse she’s suffered — but her incandescent strength prevails.
Astonishingly, the album was recorded in just four days with producer Dan Knobler and a circle of friends, including Yola and the McCrary Sisters. Russell’s further collaborations include Brandi Carlile, Brittney Spencer, and Aoife O’Donovan — that latter collaboration, on O’Donovan’s “Prodigal Daughter,” was nominated for a 2023 Grammy Award for Best American Roots Performance.
The many awards that Russell has won for Outside Child have elevated her visibility, including Album of the Year at the 2022 Americana Music Honors & Awards and Canadian Folk Music Awards, a 2022 Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, International Artist of the Year at the 2023 UK Americana Music Awards, and much more.
However, it’s Russell’s ethos of empathy and activism that defines her artistry and, in her words, “play a central role in who I am.” From her active participation in organizations like Moving Nashville Forward to playing the Sound Mind Music Festival for Mental Health in Central Park last year, Russell’s determination to raise others from despair magnifies the profound impact of her music.
We are honored to have the extraordinary Allison Russell perform at this year's High Line Bash.