Country soul artist Yola brought her Walk Through Fire world tour to the U District on Sunday night, playing at the Neptune Theatre with Amythyst Kiah of Johnston City, Tennessee.

That duo netted five Grammy nominations this year, but they decided to pack a little more firepower for the Seattle stop of their tour.

Enter Maple Valley’s finest, five-time Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, who collaborated with Yola on “Highwomen,” a track by Carlile’s Americana supergroup of the same name.

Brandi Carlile surprised fans by opening for Yola and Amythyst Kiah at The Neptune on Sunday night. Carlile played solo, without her usual bandmates, the Hanseroth twins. (Trevor Lenzmeier / The Seattle Times)
Brandi Carlile surprised fans by opening for Yola and Amythyst Kiah at The Neptune on Sunday night. Carlile played solo, without her usual bandmates, the Hanseroth twins. (Trevor Lenzmeier / The Seattle Times)

Carlile is beyond the point in her career where up-and-comers open for her. But in the last year, Carlile has made it her mission to use her star power to help elevate other women in country music. As a co-producer on Tanya Tucker’s album, “While I’m Livin’,” Carlile helped Tucker win the first two Grammys of her career last month.

So it was not entirely surprising when Carlile announced via Instagram Saturday night that she’d be opening for Yola at the Neptune on Sunday. Tickets promptly sold out.

Brandi Carlile performed “The Things I Regret” as the surprise last-minute opening act for Yola on Sunday night at The Neptune. (Trevor Lenzmeier/The Seattle Times)
Brandi Carlile performed “The Joke” as part of a five-song set when opening for Yola on Sunday night at The Neptune. (Trevor Lenzmeier/ The Seattle Times)

Carlile showed up solo, without usual bandmates Phil and Tim Hanseroth, and performed a brief set to open Yola’s show — highlighted by a soaring rendition of “The Joke” that electrified the crowd.

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Amythyst Kiah took the stage after Carlile and kept the crowd loose and buzzing before the main act, Yola, came onstage.

Amythyst Kiah opening for Yola at The Neptune on Sunday night – following behind Brandi Carlile’s five-song mini-set. (Trevor Lenzmeier / The Seattle Times)

Yola kept up the “woman power” theme of the night, praising her fellow female performers and calling for more representation of women, artists of color and minorities in not only the roots and country-music communities, but also in the greater music community and in the global paradigm itself, drawing shouts of approval from the sold-out crowd.

Yola performed “Lonely the Night” early in her set at The Neptune on Sunday night. (Trevor Lenzmeier/ The Seattle Times)

Midway through Yola’s set, Carlile came back onstage and the two women performed “Highwomen” and “Faraway Look” together, sharing an ovation and a hug before Carlile left for good.

If you enjoyed catching Carlile and Yola on the same bill, you’ll get to do so again this summer: Carlile will play at The Gorge on June 6 with Yola and Sheryl Crow.

Brandi Carlile opened for Yola on Sunday night at The Neptune. Then, she came back on stage later during Yola’s set, and the duo performed “Faraway Look” together to rousing applause from the audience. (Trevor Lenzmeier/ The Seattle Times)

And Carlile will take center stage at Benaroya Hall next weekend, playing three shows from Friday through Sunday with the Seattle Symphony.