The One and Only Yola


Yola’s “Walk Through Fire” is an album I can’t stop recommending to people. It is gorgeous and generous, entrancing from the first note to the last. Yola’s voice and guitar playing are tender, precise, and powerful. She commands her musical gifts with singular grace. Yola has the rare ability to create the simultaneous and contradictory feeling of sinking deeply into the sumptuousness of her voice and being effortlessly elevated by it, all in the same song. Each song on the album is a perfectly crafted story. “Walk Through Fire” is a testament to Yola’s overflowing talent as a vocal and lyrical storyteller. There are no lulls in this 41 minute treasure.

“Singing was like the air I breathed. I sing to live.”

-Yola, Paper Magazine (January 2020)

“Walk Through Fire” is major. The beauty of the album cannot be overstated. It is an organic mix of genres in harmony- Country and R&B, Folk, Rock, and Soul. Every song on the album should be a huge hit. It’s easy to imagine Yola’s voice floating from car speakers and through ear buds, listeners singing or humming along to one gem of a song after another. The album is timeless. It is familiar and fresh, living in a musical space no one has touched in a long time. The energy is reminiscent of the ways great songs by Joan Armatrading, Roberta Flack, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Bob Dylan make you feel. What puts the album over the top, with all of its beauty and craftsmanship on glorious display in sparkling arrangements is Yola’s intimate love of music that has been tended and treasured to create something uniquely her own. “Walk Through Fire” is a musical blessing. 

“Ride Out in the Country” should be a Country radio staple. It’s a song made for road trips and sitting creek side on a hot summer day.

“Faraway Look,” the first song on the album is so lush. It is a signal of the richness to come.

“Lonely The Night” is an anthem of love lost.

NPR Tiny Desk Concert

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