Yola (from the album Stand for Myself available on Easy Eye Sound) (By Lee Zimmerman)
Given the acclaim accorded her spectacular full-length debut Walk Through Fire, and the four Grammy nominations, spate of nominations in various categories from the Americana Music Association and the U.K. Americana Music Association, and the array of immediate acclaim that followed in its wake, it’s little wonder that Yola’s sophomore set, aptly titled Stand for Myself, should be a decided demonstration of her credence and confidence.
The cover offers the first hint of Yola’s authoritative stance, with her raised fist and defiant demeanor captured on the front and a portrait of her clad in a black leather jacket astride a motorcycle on the back. Still, it’s the searing sounds that emanate within that define her pervasive presence. With Dan Auerbach behind the boards and no effort having been spared in terms of the album’s oversized arrangements, she comes on like the Soul goddess she is, an unrelenting dynamo with a voice that soars to the stratosphere and seems to linger long after the last notes fade away. Whether effortlessly emoting on ballads such as “Barely Alive”, “Like a Photograph”, “Great Divide”, and “Be My Friend” (featuring backing vocals from Brandi Carlile, hardly a shrinking violet herself), or simply sharing a soulful saunter and shuffle with “Dancing Away In Years’, “Now You’re Here”, “Diamond Studded Shoes”, “Breaking the Bough”, and “Starlight” she puts forth a stirring presence, one that’s driven, dynamic and flush with both emotion and exuberance. There’s no denying the fact that she’s achieved diva status, having done so through both talent and tenacity.
While most of the songs she shares here center on romance and relationships in a classic context, the title track best sums up her own sentiments most succinctly.
‘Now I’m alive
It’s hard to explain
It took this much time
It took this much pain
You can get here
If you’re willing
Let go of yourself for a new beginning’
These powerful and passionate performances clearly affirm the fact that Yola has not only arrived, but setting a new standard entirely her own. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Yola from AMAZON
Please visit the Yola website for more information
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