Walk Through Fire is the debut album from Yola, whom Q calls a "Bristol country-soul miracle." The Dan Auerbach–produced album puts a contemporary twist on a traditional sonic tapestry of orchestral strings, fiddle, steel, and shimmering tremolo guitars. Yola's arresting vocals captivate with sincere tales of heartache and loves lost, forgotten, and broken. The album "showcases Yola's otherworldly vocals and compelling songwriting," says NPR. "It's the work of an artist sure to stun audiences for years to come." The digital album for sale includes two bonus tracks, including a cover of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Grammy Award Nominee: Best New Artist, Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Performance & Best American Roots Song ("Faraway Look").
Grammy Award Nominee: Best New Artist, Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Performance & Best American Roots Song ("Faraway Look")
British rising star Yola's debut solo album, Walk Through Fire, produced by The Black Keys' eight-time Grammy Award winner Dan Auerbach, was released on February 22, 2019, on Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound label, distributed by Nonesuch Records. The digital album for sale includes two bonus tracks, including a cover of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
Yola has blazed her own trail with a passion for the soul and country music she loves. Walk Through Fire is a contemporary twist on a traditional sonic tapestry of orchestral strings, fiddle, steel, and shimmering tremolo guitars, it provides the perfect soundtrack to Yola's arresting vocals, which first came to the attention of Auerbach after a friend sent him a video of Yola performing in Nashville.
"The moment I met Yola I was impressed," says Auerbach. "Her spirit fills the room, just like her voice … she has the ability to sing in a full roar or barely a whisper and that is a true gift. She made everyone in the studio an instant believer."
Videos for three songs from the forthcoming album, "Love All Night (Work All Day)," "Faraway Look" and "Ride Out in the Country," can be seen here:
Hailing from a small town outside Bristol in the UK, Yola grew up in poverty with an unsupportive parent who "banned" her from making any music. She later became homeless, living on the streets of London and also experienced stress-induced voice loss.
Yola overcame these challenges to launch a successful sideline in writing, performing on pop hits and briefly joined British band Massive Attack. She was also the main writer and front woman in Phantom Limb, opening for artists including James Brown and Dr. John before pursuing her solo career in 2016. She quickly made her mark in the US with her vocal powers and innovative songwriting winning early supporters, including Rolling Stone Country, Wall Street Journal, Paste, Stereogum, NPR and The Current's Bill DeVille, who stated, "She's a powerhouse of a singer: she's part Southern soul, she's part gospel and she's completely amazing. You'll want to remember her name: Yola."
Written and recorded at Auerbach's Nashville studio, Easy Eye Sound, Walk Through Fire is a truly collaborative record. It was written in the studio by Yola and Auerbach with contributions from songwriting legends who between them have written songs for artists from Glen Campbell to Aretha Franklin. Auerbach also assembled his Easy Eye Sound all-star house band composed of legendary session players. Musicians who performed on the record include bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash) as well as drummer Gene Chrisman and pianist Bobby Wood who played on hits by Dusty Springfield and Elvis Presley. Guest performers include up-and-comer Molly Tuttle and country music icon Vince Gill.
Produced by Dan Auerbach
Recorded & Engineered by M. Allen Parker at Easy Eye Sound Studios, Nashville, TN
Additional Engineering by Josh Ditty & Trey Keller
Assistant Engineering by Alex Skelton & Caleb VanBuskirk
Mixed by M. Allen Parker & Dan Auerbach at Easy Eye Sound Studios, Nashville, TN
Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, Nashville, TN
Design & Layout by Perry Shall
Photography by Alysse Gafkjen
Yola, lead vocals
Dan Auerbach, electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, percussion, fuzz bass, mellotron, background vocals
Roy Agee, horns
Gene Chrisman, drums, percussion
Matt Combs, strings, fiddle
Stuart Duncan, fiddle
Vince Gill, background vocals
Mark Howard, acoustic guitar, banjo
Ray Jacildo, organ, harpsichord, vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba
Ronnie McCoury, mandolin
Charlie McCoy, harmonica
Pat McLaughlin, percussion
Russ Pahl, electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitar
Dave Roe, bass
Mike Rojas, piano, vibraphone, glockenspiel, harmonium, clavinet, harpsichord, mellotron, marimba
Billy Sanford, electric guitar, tic-tac guitar
Molly Tuttle, acoustic guitar
Bobby Wood, Wurlitzer electric piano, piano
Leisa Hans, background vocals
Ashley Wilcoxson, background vocals