Yola Carter – Orphan Offering (EP)


Yola Carter
Orphan Offering
Ear Trumpet Music

A Beautifully Powerful Voice That Transcends Musical Boundaries.

Yola Carter first found fame with a band called Phantom Limb, while critically acclaimed they somehow never found the fortune that they deserved. Yolanda then seemed to disappear from the scene until a couple of years ago when she turned up at the Sage Gateshead SummerTyne Americana Festival, leading their Gospel Choir on a Sunday lunchtime.
To say she left me gob-smacked would be a gross understatement…….I’m no God Botherer but if it meant hearing that amazing ‘sound’ again. I’d be back to chapel in an instant.
Again, she disappeared into the shadows with rumours of an immanent album on the horizon. Then, jump forward to SummerTyne 2016 and the larger than life, ever smiling singer headlined the Jumping Hot Club Stage on the Sunday afternoon and absolutely stole the show, combining Country, Soul, Blues, Gospel and Rock & Roll in a way the crowd won’t forget in a long time.
So fast forward to today and that ‘imminent album’ is now an EP but the wait has certainly been well worth it.
A gentle acoustic guitar intro leads us into the delightfully brittle opening song Home. The intricate and intelligent words ooze from Yola’s velvety throat with enough emotion to sink a battleship, and when the backing singers seep in I was reminded of the first time I ever heard Aretha Franklin……and that is an honest comparison from a huge fan of Aretha.
Her first love, Country Music comes to the for on track #2 What You Do, with Yola sounding more like she was born in the SW of America instead of SW England, and the song itself is as deep as a well, and the more you listen to it the more the layers reveal a really dark story.
The title track, Orphan Country comes in without any warning at #3. Dear Lord this is a story within a song that will crush even the hardest of hearts and Yola’s pearlescent voice sounds on the verge of breaking into tears at the end of each line…….leaving the listener a quivering wreck.
Don’t think for an instant that this is a ‘sad album’….it’s not, even though the stories are sad. The pristine production on songs like Heed My Words take a mournful tale and make it a thing of beauty and grace, which pretty much sums up Yola Carter’s singing style.
The short and sweet EP closes with the powerful and evocative Fly Away which finds the songstress giving full flow to her voice while a crunchy acoustic guitar and almost Grapelliesque violin add to the melodrama in the background.
Which all brings us to track #5 Dead and Gone which caught me by surprise at the absolute right/wrong time in my life. I’m pretty sure you have all ‘been there’ at one time or another, but I’ve personally never heard someone sing about depression in such a beauteous and emotional way. Yola cuts through all of the fog surrounding this disease with words that are not just from her heart, but presumably from her life and she has created a song that deserves to be heard free of charge on the National Health Service.
Phew, this is Grown Up music that can and should appeal to fans of Aretha, Dusty, Joni and  even Adele; but be prepared to have your heart broken and your Soul stirred.

Released October 31st 2016




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