APRIL 11, 2017 by Valerie June
While it’s interesting to ponder for its narrative possibility, the idea that an artist could ever emerge fully formed is curious — especially at the moment of their breakthrough. When Valerie June’s official-label debut, Pushin’ Against a Stone(Concord Music Group), started gaining critical momentum in 2013, it was hailed in several quarters as
a neatly gestated statement of purpose from a newcomer. In truth, the Tennessee native was already in her thirties, and her career to that point had progressed in fits and starts for several years, during which she hustled to establish herself on the Memphis scene. Along the way, she appeared on a short-lived MTV web series and did “anything that’s not illegal or degrading,” as she once put it, to make ends meet. The iteration of Pushin’ Against a Stone that was eventually released featured re-recordings of songs that had been in the works since 2010;
far from being June’s first album, it was actually her third as a solo artist. Read more here.