The Montreal-native / Nashville-based blues songwriter Allison Russell is gearing up to release her debut solo record this spring. Russell commands traditional country melodies and weaves personal stories of resilience with each thread; her new album Outside Child will come out on May 21st. Marked by its determination, “Nightflyer” was the first track from her forthcoming album. More recently, Russell revealed “Persephone,” a tender ballad that provides refuge from a cruel world. Listen below and pre-order Outside Child on orange vinyl here.
“Persephone” is an homage to my first love – she helped me through my early days of being a teenage runaway and taught me that people can be kind… It’s about the healing joy of experiencing a consensual sexual awakening after a decade of abuse – and about the transformative rebirth that is possible when we begin to love and be loved with mutual care, respect and honesty.” – Allison Russell
Color and nature brighten up “Persephone” after a bloody introduction. Additional instrumentation joins the steel guitar and brushed percussion for a pleasantly textured listen. Russell’s own voice guides us past hideous realities until we reach a loving clearing, guarded by the Goddess of the Underworld herself. Persephone represents springtime, more specifically, the beauty that can emerge from even the darkest circumstances.
The story of “Persephone” is pulled from Russell’s memories yet it works just as well as a metaphor for youth anywhere. The figure referred to simply as “him” embodies any aggressive cis man, and more broadly the patriarchy, whose main goal is to shun (or kill) anyone who doesn’t conform to the society he established. Well, fuck that. Russell found love and refuge in Persephone, and so can you.
by: Zoë Elaine