British country-soul singer Yola caps an exceptional 2019 with the release of a deluxe edition of her shimmering Walk Through Fire album, adding a cover of enthusiastic fan Elton John’s 1973 classic “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” to the LP. Having already been performing the song on tour, Yola imbues the wistful but resolute lyrics with a glimmer of hope and defiance. Walk Through Fire producer Dan Auerbach punctuates the piano-driven tune with a melancholic light horn arrangement.
A sultry, homeward-glancing tale of the pursuit of a simpler life and time, the Bernie Taupin-penned lyrics are among his most homespun and “country”-leaning. Ironically, when John’s original single was issued in the U.S. in 1973, it stalled in the Number Two position, held back by country-influenced chart-toppers “Top of the World,” from the Carpenters, and the Charlie Rich ballad “The Most Beautiful Girl.”
Personally premiered by the rock icon via his social media accounts, John heaped praise upon the genre-defying singer during a special episode of his Rocket Hour radio show. “If you haven’t heard of Yola… go and see her,” he raved. “You’ll be delighted at what you hear.”
In addition to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the now-available deluxe version of the LP features the delectable bright-pop-meets-Memphis soul of “I Don’t Wanna Lie,” which she co-wrote with Auerbach and keyboardist Bobby Wood. Since its release, Walk Through Fire has earned three Grammy nominations, as well as Yola’s inclusion in the Best New Artist category. The UK Americana Awards’ reigning UK Artist of the Year, Yola gave a standout performances at the recent Americana Honors and Awards ceremony at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in September. She returns to the Ryman December 30th and 31st for a two-night stand with Old Crow Medicine Show.