10 Mar MXDWN: Valerie June – The Order of Time
It’s no surprise that singer-songwriter Valerie June spent her formative years immersed in Appalachian gospel. In her sophomore album, The Order of Time, June gives a vocal performance that calls into question whether accompanying instruments are really all that necessary. Granted, that question is quickly dismissed by the sparsely laid, shimmery xylophone and the snare drum’s perfect rhythm. Along with the organ, plucked straight from southern gospel, these elements synergize into an album that transcends any particular genre or period.
The Order of Time is an intimate album in both its lyrics and production. On “Shakedown,” the second single and possibly most lively track, June’s brothers and late father — not to mention Norah Jones — sing background vocals. “Love You Once Made” is a heartbreaking ode to daily rituals with a former lover, while “Long Lonely Road” recounts a tale of struggle and yearning that radiates with something vaguely bittersweet and just out of reach. The last syllable of each word seems to melt off into the ethereal world June carefully crafts. Her vocal command is at times astounding, her nasally twang sounding like a plucked lap steel string, as mournful as it is resilient. Read more here.