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Dolly-loving Brit Yola explores fusion of country and soul

March 4, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When singer-songwriter Yola was growing up in Bristol, England, her mother’s vinyl records were just about the only form of amusement the family could afford.

Yola, whose given name is Yolanda Quartey but now just goes by Yola, started then learning about Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton, even though it made her stand out as a black British girl who loved classic American country and soul.

Yola’s new album, “Walk Through Fire,” is a return to her first musical inspirations and an exploration of the intersection of soul, country and rock combined with her background in songwriting. Produced and co-written with Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, the record is an introduction to an artist who has spent most of her career behind the scenes as a songwriter or singing in bands.