APPEARED ON LATER…WITH JOOLS HOLLAND
PERFORMING THIS WEEK ON JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!
4x GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Allison Russell has released a stunning official video for “Demons,” a track from her recently released acclaimed new album, The Returner. Yesterday, the video made its broadcast premiere across BET Her, BET Soul, CMT Music, MTVU, MTV Live, and MTV Biggest Pop. The epic visual narrative marks the directorial debut of Ethan Tobman, Creative Director of Taylor Swift’s triumphant The Eras Tour and production designer for Beyonce’s Lemonade and Black Is King as well as award-winning film and television such as Room, The Menu, Beautiful Boy, Pam & Tommy and much more. The piece was filmed in Prague over three days with choreographer Zizou and her rainbow coalition of dancers and executive produced by Jacob Tierney. This morning Variety released an exclusive, in-depth conversation with Russell & Tobman, on the making of “Demons” and their decades-long friendship.
Read it HERE.
WATCH “DEMONS” HERE
Ethan Tobman on “Demons”:
I wanted “Demons” to combine kinetic dance and immersive world-building to explore the pact you make with what you have survived. Whereas Allison Russell’s first album, ‘Outside Child,’ was an emotionally gut-wrenching meditation on childhood abuse and transcendence, ‘The Returner’ felt to me like a cathartic celebration – the “what comes next”- at once acknowledging those scars and then literally finding joy in them. The dancer’s movements needed to feel kinetic because they needed to represent extensions of Allison’s own journey – as she moves, they move, and when they fall, she is the only one that can pick them up. That’s where my idea of the slanted wall came from, a wall that only Allison can walk up and everyone else will slide down. That’s how it feels sometimes when you’ve survived a secret, and only you can sense up or down, and it’s up to you now to decide if and how to let the rest of the world back in to you.
Allison Russell on the “Demons” video:
We don’t have to hide from our history, we just have to face it. And walk through it together. Our trauma can be the mother of empathy, of compassion, of equal human understanding, of truth, reconciliation, reparation, forgiveness, of loving coalition and harm reduction. “Demons” is about looking our traumas in the face – and not letting them drive the bus. This “Demons” video marks my inaugural creative collaboration with my beloved childhood friend, fellow Montrealais & birthday twin, Ethan Tobman. Ethan’s visual genius takes my breath away. I am beyond honored that he chose to make his music video directorial debut with me and with this song.
Late last week, Allison Russell made her debut on the UK television institution, Later….with Jools Holland, where she performed the song “Stay Right Here.” On Thursday, November 2nd, Russell will return to Jimmy Kimmel Live! for a performance of the title track off of her new album. Russell, who released her second solo album, The Returner last month, is currently on a major U.S. headlining tour that kicked off earlier this week and will wrap up in January of 2024. Highlights include The El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles this Wednesday, November 1st, Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on November 30th and The Basement East in Russell’s adopted hometown of Nashville on January 11th and 12th. Tickets are on sale now. Full tour dates below.
The Returner was written and co-produced by Allison along with dim star (her partner JT Nero and Drew Lindsay) and was recorded over Solstice week in December 2022 at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA. It features Russell’s “Rainbow Coalition” ensemble: Elenna Canlas, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, Ganessa James, Joy Clark, Kerenza Peacock, Larissa Maestro, Mandy Fer (Sway Wild), Megan Coleman, Meg McCormick , SistaStrings (Chauntee & Monique Ross) , Wendy & Lisa (Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman aka The Revolution) and Wiktoria Bialic.
Since the release of her debut solo LP two years ago, Outside Child, Russell’s often devastating, deeply moving, cathartic celebration of survivor’s joy has become one of the most acclaimed albums of the past 10 years. Now comes the second chapter, The Returner, a body-shaking, mind-expanding, soulful expression of liberation, love, and self-respect that serves as a fierce declaration of joy for all survivors that have made it to the other side. Allison, JT, and Drew built The Returner from the bottom up with a rhythm-first, genre-fluid approach. The improvisational energy of great female artists sparked the album’s fierce joy, and provided a wider canvas for Allison’s immense, unlimited talent. In all, the new album doesn’t just deliver on the promise of the last two years, it exceeds all reasonable (and unreasonable) expectations and affirms Allison Russell’s place among music’s most vital artists⎯and The Returner, as one of 2023’s most essential recordings.
Following a diverse career as a featured member of acclaimed bands including Po’ Girl, Birds of Chicago and Our Native Daughters, Russell finally dared to release her solo project in 2021. “It’s an album of strength and affirmation, not victimization,” said The New York Times in their profile on Russell and Outside Child. Following the album’s release, Russell performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Ellen, Late Night With Stephen Colbert, CBS Saturday Morning, Austin City Limits, The Kelly Clarkson Show made her Opry debut and appeared at the Country Music Hall of Fame and performed at the 2022 GRAMMY’s Premiere Ceremony.
The accolades for Russell have been immense. In addition to her four GRAMMY nominations, she has earned three 2022 Americana Award nominations and a win for Album of the Year, two International Folk Music Award wins, a 2022 Juno nomination for ‘Songwriter of the Year,’ and her first-ever Juno Award win for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. Russell received two 2021 Americana Awards nominations, won three Canadian Folk Music Awards, two UK Americana Music Awards, and more. She was recently nominated for Song of the Year and Artist of the Year for the 2023 Americana Awards. In addition, Russell has consistently used her newfound platform to elevate, educate and inspire; curating the history making Once And Future Sounds: Roots and Revolution set for the Newport Folk Festival in 2021 and mobilizing this year’s triumphant Love Rising All-Star benefit concert in support of LGBTQIA+ causes in Nashville – raising over $550,000 and calling national attention to Tennessee’s dangerous anti-trans and anti-drag laws. Russell has also announced a book deal with Flatiron/MacMillan for her debut novel, a memoir based on her life and the material that inspired Outside Child and The Returner.
* -Supporting Tyler Childers
Nov 01 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Nov 03 – HopMonk Tavern – Novato, CA – SOLD OUT
Nov 04 – Sweetwater – Mill Valley, CA – SOLD OUT
Nov 05 – The Center for the Arts – Grass Valley, CA
Nov 07 – Hult Center for the Performing Arts – Eugene, OR
Nov 09 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – SOLD OUT
Nov 10 – Admiral Theatre – Bremerton, WA
Nov 11 – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA – SOLD OUT
Nov 13 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT-SOLD OUT
Nov 15 – Boulder Theater – Boulder, CO
Nov 16 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
Nov 17 – Roaring Fork Sessions – Aspen, CO
Nov 29 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
Nov 30 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
Dec 02 – Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts – Katonah, NY
Dec 03 – Infinity Hall Hartford – Hartford, CT
Dec 05- BOMBYX Center for Artist & Equity- Northampton, MA- SOLD OUT
Dec 07 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA- SOLD OUT
Dec 08 – Portland House of Music – Portland, ME – SOLD OUT
Dec 09 – Levon Helm Studios – Woodstock, NY – SOLD OUT
Dec 10- The Birchmere- Alexandria, VA
Jan 11 – The Basement East – Nashville, TN- SOLD OUT
Jan 12– The Basement East- Nashville, TN
Jan 13 – Sheldon Theater – St. Louis, MO
Jan 14 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL- SOLD OUT
Jan 16 – St. Cecilia Music Center – Grand Rapids, MI
May 27 – CFG Bank Arena – Baltimore, MD*- SOLD OUT
Aug 10- Hayden Homes Amphitheater- Bend, OR*- SOLD OUT
Aug 11- Hayden Homes Amphitheater- Bend, OR*- SOLD OUT
The Returner – Track List: