Allison Russell has shared another preview of her highly-anticipated second album The Returner with the release of the revelatory third single “Snakelife.” She’s also announced a run of U.S. headlining tour dates — including a night at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on November 1st — supporting the follow-up to her landmark debut album Outside Child. The new song joins the transcendent “The Returner,” with its euphoric swell of strings and harmonic choirs, and the groovily rapt “Stay Right Here.”


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In “Snakelife” she stages a triumphant rebirth — summoning with titanic and radiant resolve the world that Russell wishes earnestly to eclipse our own. “I used to dream, I’d shed my skin,” she sings against the strident pluck and warble of strings that resound within the song’s haunting atmosphere. Her words are an invocation, conjuring a vision of the Afro-Future-Rainbow-Coalition-Transformative Universe Russell seeks to both “inhabit and foster.”

That moment of climactic creation and manifestation occurs at the peak of the revitalizing spell being cast within “Snakelife.” When the strings drop out, replaced by scintillating tones and scattered piano keys, the melody starts to oscillate between the eerie and ethereal.

Russell leads you by the hand in a sublime journey dually inward and outward, up “to the indigo sky,” flying further still, “past the death of stars.” Until finally, like an impossibly distant supernova finally grazed, you arrive in that blissful universe. As she sings in the song’s outro: “I used to dream, but now I write; I wield my words like spindles bright; To weave a world where every child Is safe and loved; And Black is beautiful and good.”

“Snakelife” is accompanied by a music video, directed by Seck and filmed at Sacred Dog Ranch, Fairview TN. The film follows Russell as she wanders into the pale-green wilderness with four companions in tow, offering up stunning aerial and landscape shots of the group as march down a trail through fields of tall grass. The only interruptions or wrinkles in their striking uniformity come in the form of effects that start to twist and warp the visuals into mind-bending whirls.

artist to watch in 2023

See Allison Russell at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on November 1st.

The Returner the new album from Allison Russell is out on September 8th, pre-order it here.

Visit Allison Russell on their website, TikTok, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.

Allison Russell tour
Aug 12 – Burnaby Roots and Blues Festival – Burnaby, CANADA
Aug 13 – Regina Music Festival – Regina, CANADA
Aug 17 – Whistler Summer Concert Series – Whistler, CANADA
Aug 18 – Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival – Salmon Arm, CANADA
Aug 20 – Catbird Music Festival – Bethel, NY
Aug 26 – Badlands Amphitheatre – Drumheller, CANADA
Aug 27 – Harbour Blues ‘n Roots Festival – Victoria, CANADA
Sept 09 – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival – Bristol, TN
Sept 15 – Harvest Music Festival – Fredericton, CANADA
Sept 16 – CityFolk Festival in Ottawa, CANADA
Sept 22 – FreshGrass Festival – North Adams, MA
Sept 23 – Farm Aid – Noblesville, IN
Sept 24 – XPoNential Music Festival – Camden, NJ
Oct 13 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
Oct 19 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
Oct 20 – Princess Theatre – Decatur, AL
Oct 21 – Toulouse Theatre – New Orleans, LA
Oct 25 – 3TEN ACL Live – Austin, TX
Oct 28 – The Lensic – Santa Fe, NM
Oct 29 – MIM Music Theater – Phoenix, AZ
Nov 01 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Nov 04 – Sweetwater – Mill Valley, CA
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
Nov 10 – Admiral Theatre – Bremerton, WA
Nov 11 – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA
Nov 13 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
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 07 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
Dec 08 – Portland House of Music – Portland, ME
Dec 09 – Levon Helm Studios – Woodstock, NY
Jan 11 – The Basement East – Nashville, TN
Jan 13 – Sheldon Theater – St. Louis, MO
Jan 14 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL
Jan 16 – St. Cecilia Music Center – Grand Rapids, MI

Words: Steven Ward

Watch the music video for “Snakelife” the new single from Allison Russell below!

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