Locavore Sound: Valerie June rolls Tennessee into NYC

I can’t stop listening to Valerie June. Whether alone on guitar or banjo, or backed by a band complete with horns, Ms. June makes the country blues chic.

The artist is fun to look at, too, with mythical dreadlocks in Medusa waves that frame striking cheekbones and Cupid’s bow lips. June is a standout even in the lush fashion landscape of Brooklyn. She says she’s playing the songs that find their way through her. She brings a splash of Tennessee to the Apple.

A few years ago Valerie June was working different jobs while she struggled to find a way to live off of music. One day she just up and quit. She says from that moment on everything worked out; she “started following her heart” doing nothing but music and she never looked back. Workin’ Woman’s Blues is a plea that’s familiar to the single working city girl:

Ain’t no dinner on the table,
Ain’t no food in the refrigerator
I go to work I’ll be back later
I go to work I’ll be back later
I’ve been working like a man
I’ve been working all my life

Lord you know I’m a good-looking woman
If you want to give me something
Anything in this great big world
Lord you know that I am ready
For my sugar, my sugar daddy

“Twined and Twisted” is my favorite. With a voice both effortless and other-worldly, Valerie June leaves you wanting more. A duet with John Forte places the artist in the choruses. Their voices fit nicely, but there’s just not enough of her. Thankfully, her first full-length record “Pushin’Against a Stone” was released this May. Booker T. Washington produced the album, playing organ and co-writing some of the songs. June is currently touring in support of the new record.

As the artist puts it, “We’re rolling. It’s just life and it’s all a song.”

Valerie June plays City Winery Aug. 14.



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