26 Feb SLANT MAGAZINE: The Order of Time
“I’m bound to leave you waiting by the front door,” Valerie June sings midway through her sophomore effort, The Order of Time. It’s hard not to think of Bob Dylan standin’ in the doorway cryin’, or the singers of countless other lovin’-and-leavin’ country-blues songs. But on the very next song, she’s singing about “dancin’ on the astral plane,” an image that hews closer to Erykah Badu’s cosmic incantations than to the vernacular of the American folk tradition. That mingling of the earthbound and the otherworldly is crucial to the album, and June makes it sound like the most natural thing in the world.
June is a Tennessee gal, raised on church music and well-schooled in the blues. Her 2013 debut, Pushin’ Against a Stone, poached sounds and ideas from traditional Americana and made it all sound effortless. Her reedy, expressive voice—which, incidentally, has more than a little in common with Badu’s—mixes jazz phrasing with juke-joint grit, Pentecostal firepower, and the melodic lilt of Appalachian folk tunes. She’s steeped in roots music, and with The Order of Time she starts cracking it wide open. Read more here.