Featured Artist: Valarie June
Valerie June mixes lots of sounds to form her unique brand of Americana music. On any track of her recent release The Order of Time, released by Concord Music Group, you can hear songs that can be identified as Appalachian, bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel and a whole lot of soul. Growing up in Humboldt, Tennessee, June used to help her father, a promoter for the likes of Bobby Womack, K-Ci & Jojo and Prince, hang concert posters around town. In 2000, at the age of 19, June moved to Memphis to begin her recording career. She relocated with her husband, who she had been playing with at the time. After they split, June began recording as a solo artist, bringing many of the influences she grew up with into her music, calling her distinct sound, “organic moonshine roots music.”
In 2010, June released the EP Valerie June and the Tennessee Express, collaborating with Old Crow Medicine Show. This led to record producer Kevin Augunas introducing June to Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who went on to co-write and produce her next album, 2013’s Pushin’ Against a Stone. Stone was critically acclaimed, with The New York Times praising June as America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.” The New Yorker noted her “unique, stunning voice,” Rolling Stone calling her “unstoppable,” and NPR hailing June as “an elemental talent born with the ability to rearrange the clouds themselves.” That album went on to reach #46 on the US Billboard Charts.
On March 10, 2017, June release her follow up to Stone with The Order of Time. Of this album, June explains that time was a major influence for this record. “Time is the ruler of Earth’s rhythm. Our daily lives revolve around it. Our hearts beat along to its song. If we let it, it can be a powerful guide to turning our greatest hopes and dreams into realities.” To record Time, June left her new home of Brooklyn, New York and went to scenic Guildford, Vermont. “They made us feel so welcome in Vermont. I was cooking amazing food and hanging out with the band all the time. There were long talks and long walks in the snow, and friends would come up for holidays. I felt like I put myself in a place where I could really soar. With the last album, I was absorbing and learning and developing so much in the studio, but this is me taking the things I learned and the things I felt in my heart and fighting for them.”
At the moment, June is currently on tour in Europe, playing the cities of Paris, London, Manchester, Hamburg and Brussels, among others. She returns to North America in early May, before embarking on a mini west coast tour with stops in Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. If you are planning to be out west in June, make sure to look up Valerie June’s tour schedule so you can check out this dynamic talent live.