Valerie June

(Jackson, TN)

If you didn’t know better, the music of Valerie June could make you believe you stepped out of a time machine on the hills of Appalachia 150 years ago. Or at Robert Johnson’s crossroads 90 years ago. Or maybe on the gospel- and soul-driven streets of Harlem 60 years ago. Valerie June channels the voice of deep roots through places and styles that echo the even deeper call of West Africa—No matter the genre, Valerie June sings it like it’s hers alone. And that voice—high and keening, sensual or playful, it is a voice that drips glorious chills down the spine. When she moved to Memphis to go professional, June decided out of pragmatic need to teach herself some instruments, so she would be free to play when and where she liked. Her self- taught, muscular chops on guitar, banjo and ukulele echo the old-timey and country blues music of the ‘20s and ‘30s. A welcome chance led to The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach producing June’s debut Pushin’ Against  A Stone, which exploded onto UK charts, landing her lifelong musical journey the title of ‘overnight success.’ June quips, “It’s been a long night if that’s what happened.” It doesn’t matter, though. Any listener will know that Valerie June’s music has been hundreds of years in the making.


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