Yola Carter

(Bristol, UK) 

Yola Carter’s gift for soulful Americana was first seen on North American shores at Nashville's Americana Festival last September, from which you might deduce that she’s a musical rookie. You’d be dead wrong. The 33-year-old British singer grew up playing fiddle in a small seaside town in the southwest corner of the U.K., and her childhood was filled with personal and cultural isolation that was relieved mainly by her love of Americana and country music. Autobiographical Appalachian tales and offerings like the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack and the Byrd’s Sweetheart of the Rodeo were Carter’s gateways into old-time music and longhaired country-rock. Using her given name, Yolanda Quartey, Carter spent a dozen years building her chops as a songwriter, arranger and gospel-soul diva in U.K. electronic and pop acts Bugz In The Attic and Massive Attack before fronting country-rock ensemble Phantom Limb. But her sights were set on making hippie-fied, down-home music of her own, and in 2016 Carter wrote her rocky childhood experiences into her debut EP Orphan Offering. It’s full of magnetic, fiddle-powered songs with evocative melodies that run the gamut from full-blooded gospel hollering to hauntingly lovely traditional country, deepened and enriched with spine-tingling harmonies and tasty playing from her backing band. Carter’s powerful songwriting plumbs the layers of the heart with an emotional resonance that stays with you long after the music stops.

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