Just weeks ago, Yola joined Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and other country music stalwarts onstage at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, raising money to help those affected by the recent tornado that had ravaged the area.
Since then, a much bigger crisis has unfolded across the world. While it’s not clear when Yola will be able to perform in front of a live audience again, she was able to play some tunes for “In My Room,” our new IGTV series in which artists perform in intimate places in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yola said hello from her home in Nashville, with her housemates/backing band, Birds of Chicago, standing by her side. (The musicians all live together in a house owned by Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.)
“We’re quarantined, like everyone’s quarantined, and we’re going to sing some songs for you,” she said, shortly before everyone launched into an a cappella performance of Etta James’ “At Last.”
Next up, the band picked up instruments and played “It Ain’t Easier,” from Yola’s debut album, Walk Through Fire, released last December. The LP earned her a nomination for Best Americana Album at this year’s Grammy Awards, alongside three other nominations, including Best New Artist.
The quartet finished the set with a performance of “Second Cousin,” one of the Birds of Chicago’s original songs, featuring a vocal solo from Allison Russell. At the end of the song, Yola issued a stern warning: “Stay. In. Side!“
To support musicians undergoing financial hardship, please consider giving to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
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