Allison Russell performed a gorgeous, stripped-down rendition of her song “Nightflyer” Tueday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Joined on harmony vocals by Brittney Spencer and Brandi Carlile (who contributed her harmonies remotely), Russell delivered a thrilling version of the song, off the singer-songwriter’s debut solo album Outside Child.
Complete with a clarinet solo from Russell, the performance of “Nightflyer” showed off the mix of impressionistic and vulnerable personal songwriting on Russell’s outstanding new album.
“I’m the sick light of a hurricane’s eye/I’m a violent lullaby,” she sings. “I’m six fireflies, one street light/I’m a suffocating summer night.”
“It’s excavating and reckoning with the most painful part of my past, is what it is,” is how Russell described her solo debut to Rolling Stone earlier this year. “Yes, my childhood was awful. But I have more agency than any of the women in my lineage prior to me. Every person that’s come before — on my Scottish side, too, they all went through unbelievable hardship. If they could survive, then I have to be able to.”
On Wednesday, Russell, a member of Our Native Daughters, released a live version of her Kimmel performance with Spencer and Carlile on Bandcamp, with all net proceeds being donated to the National Bail Out fund.
Outside Child, which was released last week, features contributions from Yola, Erin Rae, the McCrary Sisters and JT Nero, among others.