For Allison Russell, taking a chance and sending a message to Brandi Carlile’s Instagram paid off. It started a conversation with Carlile’s wife, which lead to getting detailed, track-by-track feedback on her debut solo album, Outside Child. From there, it led to yet bigger things: a contract with the label Fantasy Records, which released the powerful record to “universal acclaim” (per Metacritic) last May. It has been nominated for Americana Album of the Year at this year’s Grammys, and the standout song “Nightflyer” has been nominated for Best American Roots Song and Performance.
“I have a great team behind me,” Russell told the audience at the sold-out Barns at Wolf Trap recently. “That’s why I’m ’emerging’ at 42,” she said, referring to her nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year at last year’s Americana Music Awards.