Music Mondays: Valerie June

 

The tagline on her website that reads:"Organic Moonshine Roots Music," sets up singer/songwriter Valerie June as an artist who stands apart from the rest. Raised in the blues/gospel/country beltway of the Tennessee delta, June taught herself how to play guitar, which lead to a love for banjo and ukulele. She counts among her earliest inspirations music and musicians from the 1920s and 1930s. She writes on her website: "I really fell in love with 1920′s and 30′s music when I moved to Memphis. “Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotten, The Carter Family. I have almost everything with Alan Lomax’s name on it. Once I discovered country blues and straight-up old time country, I never left it.”

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Image from valeriejune.com

After touring extensively around the south to coffee houses, colleges, and church basements with little more than her tunes, her grit, and her sheer passion, June put together a proper recording of her music. Rather than submit herself to the, often, fraught politics of a label, June distributed her music millennial style: through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Her disc attracted the attention of producer Kevin Augunas who eventually connected her with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. Auerbach had a studio. What he did not have was a fresh, exciting new talent to work with. Enter Valerie June and the result is her debut disc Pushin Against a Stone.

With her distinctive style that blends together elecric-indie blues, country, and rural roots, June's voice has been described as oscillating between the trad country lilt of Dolly Parton and the soulful crooning of Billie Holliday. "June effortlessly shifts between eras and genres," notes her website. "She can be haunting and melancholy, singing of loneliness on “Somebody To Love,” or full of warmth and charm, fondly recalling her home on “Tennessee Time.” At one moment seductive in a sensual come-on, fragile and vulnerable the next in a display of naked honesty, June transports you to another world the moment you hear her voice."

Get transported with Valerie June's "You Can't Be Told" and be sure to check out all the latest tunes on IATG's Music Monday playlist, updated each week!

 

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