Words and Images Courtesy of the Virginia Arts Festival
Virginia Arts Festival adds Allison Russell, a Grammy nominee whose solo debut was one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of 2021, to the 2022 season. Russell will perform on June 2 in the Perry Pavilion. Tickets are on sale now at www.vafest.org, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the VAF Box Office at 440 Bank Street in Norfolk.
"Outside Child," recorded in just four days, is a powerful album about the abuse she endured as a child and later surviving on the streets of Montreal as a teen. While it looks unflinchingly at an unspeakably monstrous past, the music is lustrous from minor-key rock to Gospel to Memphis soul and folk pop.
"Throughout the album, she also sings about deliverance and redemption, about the places and people and realizations that helped her survive and claim her freedom. It’s an album of strength and affirmation, not victimization," wrote Jon Pareles, the dean of critics at The New York Times.
The album appeared on seemingly every best of 2021 list including The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Variety. NPR labeled her a best new artist. "Allison Russell's critically mega-acclaimed album gave musical form to fierce honesty and emotional freedom while featuring strong songwriting and virtuoso musicianship," wrote an NPR reviewer.
Brandi Carlile heard the album not long after Russell recorded and championed her with Fantasy, now her record label. The two have performed together several times since its release.
Russell is nominated for three Grammy awards for best Americana album, best American roots song, and best American roots performance. She's signed a deal to write her memoir. She's made her debut at the Ryman Auditorium, curated a set of Black and LGBTQ performers at the Newport Folk Festival, and appeared on The Late Show with Steven Colbert.
She was in Po' Girl before joining J.T. Nero in Birds of Chicago. They've appeared twice at North Shore Point House Concerts in Norfolk with Russell singing and unforgettable version of her song, "Barley." She is also in Our Native Daughters with Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Leyla McCalla.
Allison Russell is the seventh show in the collaboration between the Virginia Arts Festival and North Shore Point House Concerts.
The other shows in the series are:
April 6, Rosanne Cash
April 15, James McMurtry
May 12, Cowboy Junkies
May 19, Samantha Fish
May 22, Aoife O'Donovan
May 26, The War and Treaty
About the Virginia Arts Festival The Virginia Arts Festival celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2022. The largest and most prestigious international performing arts organization in southeastern Virginia, Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the region's cultural scene, presenting great performers from around the world and making this historic region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. Over the past 25 years, the Festival has welcomed visitors from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 25 foreign countries. The Festival has presented over 1,438 performances, free community events, and student matinees and workshops reaching over 1.2 million attendees. Each season, millions more are reached through international broadcasts of Festival performances on American Public Radio's Performance Today, nationally on PBS TV, and regionally on WHRO TV. Over 32% of ticket sales come from outside the region, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to local museums and attractions and filling regional hotels and restaurants. The estimated annual economic impact of the Festival exceeds $25 million.