The ‘powerful, spiritually rooted’ Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter brought her tour behind “The Returner” to Grand Rapids’ St. Cecilia Music Center on Tuesday. Browse the Local Spins photos.
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Her concerts have been described as “pure healing magic.”
Amid Michigan’s frigid, post-snowstorm messiness, Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Russell brought her 2024 tour to St. Cecilia Music Center’s cozy Royce Auditorium on Tuesday night, part of the Grand Rapids venue’s Acoustic Cafe Folk Series.
Touring behind her multi-Grammy Award-nominated 2023 album, “The Returner,” the multi-instrumentalist and activist who co-founded Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago delivered a passionate night of music as part of a four-piece band that brought a blast of “Springtime” to the historic venue.
“So I was really moved by the storytelling in a way that they both pulled people into the experience. The instrumentation was really cool. The banjo, melodica clarinet, and she does banjo and guitar. Her singing was crazy,” said Kristof Nikkel, who worked audio for the concert.
“They had really tight harmonies. They all went out through this kind of a cappella style, very rootsy and gospel. I was really moved by how she called the audience into the space. There was a section she had about laying down burdens and she mentioned how it was like therapy. … It was a powerful, spiritually rooted evening.”
Russell’s latest album is nominated for best Americana album, best Americana performance and best American roots song at the upcoming Grammy Awards, with the song “Eve Was Black” nominated for best American roots performance.
The St. Cecilia show drew a standing ovation from fans, with Russell now slated to head to Mexico for Brandi Carlile’s “Girls Just Wanna Weekend,” followed by an overseas jaunt to the United Kingdwom.
“Allison was fantastic,” added Nikkel. “The set was really well put together and it flowed. Honestly, it went by so fast that like by the last few songs, my friend and I could both tell when it was about to be over. And I didn’t want it to end.”
Tuesday’s concert opened with a set by Nashville tunesmith Kyshona Armstrong, aka Kyshona, who last played West Michigan in late August, as part of the lineup for the inaugural Fair Ground Festival in Hastings.
Browse an extensive photo gallery from the concert below.
PHOTO GALLERY: Allison Russell, Kyshona Armstrong at St. Cecilia Music Center
Photos by Jeff Wilkinson