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"Goodness Gracious": Allison Russell Reacts To Her Song "The Returner" On Barack Obama's 2023 Music List

The title track from the Montreal/Nashville songwriter's 2023 album The Returner appears on the former president's Favourite Music of 2023 list.

Allison Russell

Allison Russell

Dana Trippe

Allison Russell has responded to the news that Barack Obama's Favourite Music of 2023 list features "The Returner," the title track from her 2023 sophomore record.

"Goodness Gracious," wrote the Montreal/Nashville singer-songwriter, "this feels like an auspicious omen for the New Year!"


The shoutout from the former president caps off a banner year for Russell, who released the joyful and cathartic The Returner in September to critical and commercial success, reaching No. 80 on Billboard's Top Album Sales chart. In November, Russell received four Grammy nominations: Best Americana Album for The Returner, Best Americana Performance and Best American Roots Song for the title track, and Best American Roots Performance for single "Eve Was Black." The Returner was also featured on Billboard's Best Pride Albums of 2023.

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"Deeply, wildly grateful to all of you who have been listening & sharing so generously," Russell said in her comments on the Obama list, which also includes music by Mitski, 6LACK, Tyla, Burna Boy, Beyoncé and more. Obama's annual lists have become a tradition for the president-turned-producer, consisting of his favourite music, movies, and books. Russell previously appeared on Obama's 2021 list with the song "Nightflyer," off of her Grammy-nominated debut, Outside Child.

Her post concludes with an original haiku and the lyrics to "The Returner":

Russell isn't slowing down in 2024: after she finishes a headline tour this month, she'll head out on tour again this spring supporting Hozier and then in the summer supporting Tyler Childers. She'll also make a special guest appearance in Toronto on Sarah McLachlan's 30th anniversary Fumbling Towards Ecstasy tour. Announcing her appearance, Russell shared a story about how much McLachlan's album means to her on Instagram:

Find Russell's full tour dates here.

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Rick Ross performs during the "Miami Jazz In The Gardens" music festival at Hard Rock Stadium on March 09, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

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