Photograph: Courtesy ALYSSE GAFKJEN

We give five yeehaws for Yola—a Bristol, England-born country-meets-R&B queen. Her debut album Walk Through Fire (produced by Dan Auerbach) is ridden with heartfelt, soulful vocals and backed by southern charm and soft-rock tempos. After listening to dreamy tracks like “Ride Out in the Country,” you’d think this is the perfect soundtrack for taking a scenic drive in a rural nabe, but this is not simply an easy-breezy country album. Yola has suffered (but prevailed!) after being homeless and surviving a wretched house fire, for which her record receives its name. From the ashes, a country star is born and, damn, she is thriving.


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