Valerie June Is Pushin’ Against A Stone

STORY BY Holly Ramos

Published: September 21, 2013

Oh my, the lovely Valerie June has arrived and we are in for a treat. Some are saying that the singer/songwriter/musician’s breakout was overnight, but June says, “it’s been a long night.” The new album, Pushin’ Against A Stone, is her first major release, a studio recording produced by producers Kevin Augunas, Dan Auerbach, and Peter Sabak but Valerie has a bunch of self released work under her belt. She is not new to this lifestyle.

The Tennessee born and raised June plays an eclectic mix of folk, soul, Appalachian, bluegrass, blues and gospel and has referred to her sound as “organic moonshine roots music”. She has been described as “percolating somewhere between Dolly Parton and Billie Holliday.” Yes, she is a southern musician with a striking voice and sweet mannerisms and deep emotions. While her influences are many, the music that comes out of her is her own, distilled, authentic and sincere. She is the real deal.

The new album’s title refers to a feeling Valerie has always had, of pushing a stone, hard work. I see the burden in her beautiful face and I hear it in her guitar playing and in her voice, especially in the heartbreaking tones of Twined and Twisted. Valerie goes there, but she does not stay there. This is not a record of burden and heartbreak. These recordings use burden and experience and somehow make art that contains joy and life and history. Anne Frank comes to mind.  We get something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue, and we also get something enlivened, something pleasurable to hear and be around, something life affirming and cool, something pure and simple yet polished and shiny. Mmmmmmm.

As usual I suggest you pay money to support this kind of work. Buy the album and go see her live, you will not be sorry.

You can check out her tour dates here.

Other Stories by Holly Ramos
[^] comments powered by Disqus

Have a topic you want covered? Let us know.