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Tennessee Blocks Resolution Honouring Allison Russell's Grammy Win

The Republican-controlled state legislature blocked a resolution brought forward to celebrate Russell's recent Grammy win, while a similar resolution celebrating Paramore was passed.

Allison Russell

Allison Russell

Maarten de Boer

Allison Russell is having a good year. The singer-songwriter has had a lot of reasons to celebrate recently, from picking up three Juno nominations to winning her first Grammy, one of few Canadians to do so this year. But the Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature just blocked a resolution designed to celebrate the Americana trailblazer, whose work expands the sonic boundaries of the genre and celebrates queer, Black community.

Tennessee Representative Justin Jones brought forth resolutions this week to celebrate two Nashville artists who won at the Grammys: Russell, who lives with her family in East Nashville, and emo-pop band Paramore. After earning eight nominations, Russell took home her first Grammy this year for her song "Eve Was Black," which won best American roots performance. Paramore won best rock album and best alternative music performance.


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The resolution honouring Paramore reportedly passed in the Tennessee House without problem, but House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison undermined the resolution in support of Russell, using a procedural method to send it back to committee, which, according to the Tennessean, is often a death sentence for resolutions.

"Tonight my Republican colleagues blocked a resolution honoring Black American Roots artist Allison Russell for her first Grammy win," Jones wrote on X (formerly Twitter). Russell responded to Jones to say that she was taking the block as a compliment. "Their bigotry, sadly, is on relentless display," she wrote.

Russell collaborator Brandi Carlile agreed with Russell that it was a good sign to be feared by Tennessee lawmakers. "They're afraid and should be," she said.

While the resolution focused only on Russell's musical achievements, Russell's music is intertwined with her political and community-building work. With her band of female collaborators, the Rainbow Coalition, Russell has sought to increase space in the Americana scene for marginalized musicians.

In 2023, when Tennessee passed anti-drag and anti-LGBTQ laws, Russell helped organize the Love Rising Benefit Concert in Nashville. The concert featured performances from Brittany Howard, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and others — Paramore's Hayley Williams also appeared — raising nearly $700,000 for organizations like Out Memphis and Inclusion Tennessee.

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Notably, this isn't the first time an American politician has interacted with Allison Russell. Early this year, she appeared on former President Barack Obama's Favourite Music of 2023 list.

For his part, Faison has not explained why he blocked the resolution, though Variety reports that he also blocked a proclamation honouring country duo Brothers Osborne in 2021, not long after TJ Osborne came out as gay.

With or without a resolution celebrating her, Russell has a lot on the horizon: the performer kicks off a Canadian tour on Feb. 23, ahead of American dates supporting Hozier and Tyler Childers. She's also slated to appear at a celebration of Gordon Lightfoot in Toronto this spring, and Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Toward Ecstasy 30th anniversary tour this summer.

"I love our community, all Americana," Russell said when accepting her Grammy. "All of us, all colours, all ages, all abilities, all orientations, all genders. It's for everybody."

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