Soulful Carter gives powerful and passionate performance

This is a music review I did for my local times. I appreciate that it may not be of the best standard but it was my first music review and I had no idea how to write one. I just did the best that I could with the information and guidelines I was given. Nonetheless, I am proud of it as it is my first published written piece. I am 100% open to constructive critisism so please don’t hesitate to give me pointers.


It is not very often that a musician is able to take your breath away and instil a feeling of absolute adoration and awe.

Rising country-soul singer and songwriter Yola Carter did just that at the Lerwick Legion on Friday.

The gig, however, began rather slowly and it appeared as though the night would be stale.

Opening act Sheila Henderson, Freda Leask and Friends played a number of originals and cover songs such as Blue Bird and Willow in the Wind. It was clear that although lacking participation, the audience immensely appreciated the music.

The tempo throughout the set never changed. It was almost as though the bass played the same droll notes. This is often seen in the country genre.

Despite this, it did not fail to set the ambience of the night; ease and serenity flew through the air.

The incredibly matched harmonies of Leask and Henderson presented each song with a sense of similarity. At times it was difficult to differentiate from one song to the next.

Yet the set was extremely polished. Each instrument played with a level of intricacy that one would find hard to match. This was particularly true of the electric guitar that added much-needed depth to the performance.

By the time Henderson, Leask and friends’ set had come to an end, the Legion was jam-packed with eager listeners; more filing through the door with every passing minute.

The audience was evidently excited as the main act, Yola Carter and her band, Kit Halls and Harry Harding, took to the stage beginning by introducing themselves and telling the audience a brief back story of Carter’s music.

She described her debut EP, Orphan Offering as a breakthrough for her music because she is now completely unrestricted in regards to her creative process and producing.

Carter’s witty, carefree, and humorous personality did not fail to engage the audience as many laughs were heard from all around the room.

However, once her set began the laughing stopped. Opening with a song named Home, emotion radiated off of her.

It was clear that the song came deep from within, fuelled by soul and emotion that transferred to the audience.

Carter’s lyrics were heart-breaking, nostalgic and dealt with a variety of issues. Yet, they were incredibly inspiring, expressively fuelled and moving; allowing the audience to understand that she is a gifted songwriter who is able to take any emotion and situation, and turn it into passionate, meaningful music.

She went on to perform a number of originals such as On the WireOrphan CountrySometimeIt Ain’t Easy and much more.

Some were from her debut EP and others older or under consideration for her new album. Each song that was played possessed a solid tempo that was similar to the last in many ways.

However, each song was different and displayed its own identity and meaning. The lack of drums to begin with, was off-putting, however, the steady beat of the rhythm guitar more than made up for it.

The passion Carter exuded was continuous and never dipped. The rich, deep tones of the guitars melded perfectly with her powerful, at times raspy voice; providing a delicate yet moving, and evoking performance for the audience to take in.

As well as her voice being notably powerful, it was evident that she possessed an extremely large vocal range. This added depth to her performance and was almost as if her voice told a story.

Her voice also transcends a variety of styles; blissfully melting country, soul, and gospel tones together adding to the already riveting set.

Once Carter had finished her set, it was evident that the audience loved every single minute of it; foot tapping and head bobbing to every song.

Loud claps and shouts were all that could be heard, so much so that Carter returned to do one more song before ending the night on a high note.


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