It’s impossible to unhear the sound that issues forth once Valerie June opens her mouth to sing. It’s a voice at once ancient — arisen from some sepia-toned past — and startling modern. From its color to its timbre to its texture, there exists something powerfully original about her primary instrument. But if June were just another singer with a distinct set of pipes, this wouldn’t be an article worth reading, and she wouldn’t be an artist worth covering. It’s how she employs her voice, and the fun she has blending and blurring genres that showcases her pioneering talent.
The multi-instrumentalist and Tennessee native returns this month with her sophomore major label release, The Order of Time. Arriving four years after her debut, Pushin’ Against a Stone, saw her perform at the White House, make countless television appearances, and become a festival staple, the album indeed took some time. June didn’t let her success dictate her writing schedule and rush her back into the studio. Instead, she read poetry, danced, cooked, and languished, allowing the music to unfold on its own schedule rather than hemming and hawing about hers. Thanks to that patience, she’s pushed her own boundaries even further.
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