Walk Through Fire — Yola

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“Majestic,” “vintage,” “spirit-country soul” barely scratch the surface when describing the sheer swagger of singer-songwriter Yola. Born and raised in a poverty-stricken, unsupportive, music-less home in the U.K., Yola’s heart blossomed and has now poured forth one of the most compelling and unique releases of the year.

Walk Through Fire is the appropriately titled debut album that, upon first blush, sounds like it could be her 30th release.

After scraping up enough dough, Yola made her way to the platinum streets of Nashville in 2016, where she was discovered by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Dan was so enamored and awe-struck by what he saw and heard that he assembled a team of musicians and crafted a recording space. The rest is legendary history.

An intimate, lush gathering of style and range, Walk Through Fire captures, reveals, articulates and defines the truest common thread that sews together rhythm and blues and vintage country swing.

The dust-covered and coffee-stained “It Ain’t Easier” is by far one of the most impactful examples of just how dynamic Yola’s range and emotional depth craft a sweet lather of perfection.

The album is a bonfire of delight, where experiential resonance waltzes with barefoot grit-soul. A perfect Indian Summer soundtrack that is best served with a sweaty glass of refreshment and a box fan.

– Chris Rucker