03 Feb WBUR: Valerie June, A Folk Chameleon, Embraces Her Changing Voice On ‘The Order Of Time’
The first thing people tend to notice about Valerie June is her voice: a reedy warble, touched by a Tennessean twang. On June’s 2014 breakout album “Pushin’ Against A Stone,” that voice carried her across varied terrain, from old-time country and blues to doo-wop and Afropop. Somehow it all hung together, probably because the singer never seemed in a hurry, happy to savor the scenery wherever she was.
June grew up in Tennessee, got her start in Memphis, and has lived in Brooklyn for the past seven years. The phrase she invented to describe her omnivorous style — “organic moonshine roots music” — is helpful for encapsulating her patchwork of influences. But it also evokes a certain folksy preciousness to which the singer rarely, if ever, falls prey.
June’s latest effort, “The Order of Time,” which comes out March 10, contains all the same stylistic allusions as its predecessor. Now, thanks in large part to Matt Marinelli’s spacious production, June’s songs are otherworldly. The album’s first single, “Astral Plane,” is a gateway to her new musical universe: more pop than folk, gently philosophical in characteristic June fashion. “Follow the signs, slowly but steady/ Don’t rush,” she sings, voice gauzy with reverb. “The day will come when you are ready/ Just trust.”
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