Allison Russell, Brittany Howard, Emmylou Harris Endorse Senate Candidate Gloria Johnson with "Tennessee Rise"

Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, Katie Pruitt and dozens more back one of the "Tennessee Three"

Photo: Ray Di Pietro

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Mar 13, 2024

Allison Russell, Brittany Howard, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, Katie Pruitt and dozens more have joined forces as the Tennessee Freedom Singers to record the original song "Tennessee Rise" in support of senate candidate Gloria Johnson. Press notes describe the collaboration as the state's first incidence of such high-calibre artists coming together in music to support a politician. 

"Tennessee Rise" was born out of Canadian transplant and 2023 Exclaim! cover star Russell's deep love for the state, drawing inspiration from Johnson's work as part of the "Tennessee Three" and the activism that has followed the wave of legislation that has put marginalized groups — particularly the LGBTQIA2S+ community — at even greater risk. The verse Russell sings also painstakingly describes her daughter's nightmares about school shootings.

Johnson, a former special education teacher, has spoken out against the state's refusal to pass gun reform. "After surviving a politically charged expulsion vote, Gloria continued to work tirelessly to use her platform to grow a lasting statewide grassroots movement for change," a press release reads. "That’s why we are so proud to support Gloria, and her campaign for US Senate."

The coalition — which also included Beth Nielsen Chapman, Brittney Spencer, Brooke Eden, Denitia, Devon Gilfillian, Elizabeth Cook, Erin Rae, Fancy Hagood, Jaimee Harris, Julie Williams, Kam Franklin, Kyshona Armstrong, Langhorne Slim, Lilly Winwood, Lucie Silvas, Mary Gauthier, Meghan Linsey, Meghan McCormick, Mya Byrne, MORGXN, Paul McDonald, Phillip-Michael Scales, Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, Sara Van Buskirk, Shelly Colvin, Tre Burt and Wade Sapp — recorded the track at the Sound Emporium Studio. Everyone involved has expressed that they intend to donate any streaming proceeds.

Listen to the soulful call to action that is "Tennessee Rise" below.

Last month, a Republican rep. objected to honouring Russell's Grammy win — but not Paramore's. The band of fellow Tennesseans said they would decline the state until Russell was given the same recognition.

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