Allison Russell wins Album, Artist of the Year at Folk Music Awards

Singer-songwriter Allison Russell, who is on a string of award nominations and winning awards with her album ‘Outside Child,’ picked up two awards, Artist of the Year and Song of the Year, at the Wednesday night’s International Folk Music Awards.

The program was organized to kick off the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, MO.

Song of the Year went to Crys Matthews for “Changemakers.” Matthews performed on the two-hour show, as did band Isaac Cates & Ordained and nominees Diana Jones and John Smith.

Russell maintained a busy awards schedule. Over the weekend, she had traveled to her native Canada to pick up a Juno Award for Best Contemporary Roots Album. On Monday, she was announced as tied for a significant number of nominations — three — for the Americana Honors, where Russell will be nominated for Artist, Album and Song of the Year at a ceremony to be held. will be held in Nashville in September. The singer was also recently nominated for three Grammy Awards.

“I can’t tell you how much that means to me coming from this particular community,” Russell said during one of his two speeches. “It was at Folk Alliance [in 2001] where I first met JT [Nero, her partner and sometimes musical collaborator] and so many people who would become part of my chosen family.

“It’s a beautiful community,” she continued. He is growing and I am very proud of the fact that we collectively understand and sincerely believe that tolerance is not enough. Tolerance is for mosquitoes. We tolerate mosquitoes. Humans need love… It’s like a family reunion. We believe that art and music are an essential service and a sacrament. He saves lifes. It saved my life. And it reduces the damage in the world. It bridges the gaps between the two. It turns fear into love. It is magic.”

Aengus Finnan, Folk Alliance Executive Director, Allison Russell and JT Nero
ShadowScape Recordings

“If you had told me when I was 14, 15, running around in fear, sleeping on park benches in Mount Royal Cemetery, that life could get so surreal and magical and happy and good, I wouldn’t wouldn’t have believed you,” Russell said on his second lap on the podium.

Russell’s other recent high-profile appearances include delivering the MusiCares Person of the Year dinner honoring Joni Mitchell and singing a duet with Emmylou Harris at the Naomi Judd Memorial Tribute Sunday in Nashville, airing in live on CMT.

Variety named Russell’s “Outside Child” the best album of 2021. The album marked his solo debut after Fantasy Records previously released work with Our Native Daughters (a band featuring Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Leyla McCalla), Birds of Chicago (his band with Nero) and Po’ Girl.

Honorary awards previously announced at the Kansas City ceremony went to accordionist Flaco Jiménez, the late Nanci Griffith, Swallow Hill Music Center in Denver and singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, who received the People’s Voice Award for his social and political commentary. .

The nominees and winners in the three competitive categories:

album of the year
“They Call Me Home” by Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
“Wary + Strange” by Amythyst Kiah
“A Song for Mexico, Vol. 2” by Natalia Lafourcade
“Outside Child” by Allison Russell
“John Smith’s Melee

song of the year
“On Solid Ground” by Reggie Harris
“Painted Blue” by Sarah Jarosz
“We Believe You” by Diana Jones
“Call Me A Fool” by Valerie June
“Changemakers” by Crys Matthews

Artist of the year
The longest pants
Kalani Pe’a
Allison Russell
Arooj Aftab
John Francis Flynn

The full show can be viewed here:

Mali Obomsawin, an artist with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings from Odanak Wabanaki First Nation, has won the Rising Tide Award, launched in 2021 to celebrate an inspiring new voice under 30. The Spirit of Folk Awards were also presented to Eugene Rodriguez of Los Cenzontles. , artist Louisiana Red Hot Records VP and Head of A&R Lilli Lewis, winner of the NPR Tiny Desk Contest and disability rights activist Gaelynn Lea, President-CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association Erin Benjamin; Amado Espinoza, Bolivian-American multi-instrumentalist and luthier, and Shain Shapiro, founder of Sound Diplomacy.

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Song of the Year winner Crys Matthews performs at the International Folk Music Awards
Katie Rich

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Honored Gaelynn Lee at the International Folk Music Awards
ShadowScape Recordings

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Allison Russell at the International Folk Music Awards
Shadowscape Recordings

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Nominee Diana Jones performs at the International Folk Music Awards
Katie Rich