Valerie June – NPR Tiny Desk Concert

 

“Valerie June” is a unique performer blending the sounds and souls of historical and modern music genres into her “organic moonshine roots music”. She performed live in the NPR studios for the Tiny Desk Concert. From the NPR Bob Biolen description:

Short of seeing her live and in person, this is the best way to encounter Valerie June’s heartfelt sound. Her new album Pushin’ Against a Stone is terrific, but when I first heard that voice unadorned, I was hooked. The same may happen to you.Valerie June is a singular performer with an array of singing styles. Sometimes she’s channeling an old male voice; at other times, she channels a younger woman or even a child. Her music is steeped in tradition. The striking Tennessee singer — on its own, her hair could pass for sculpture — can sing the blues or gospel or country or a blend that sounds like nothing else. She learned how to sing during 18 years of church, but the “old man’s voice” comes from deep inside in unexpected ways. Prepare to be surprised, and to become Valerie June’s newest fan.

Valerie June’s style is described in her biography as being:

From the slide guitar shuffle of “You Can’t Be Told” and heavenly harmonies of traditional spiritual “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations,” to the stark, acoustic “Workin’ Woman Blues” and the uncanny darkness of “Twined and Twisted,” June effortlessly shifts between eras and genres. She can be haunting and melancholy, singing of loneliness on “Somebody To Love,” or full of warmth and charm, fondly recalling her home on “Tennessee Time.” At one moment seductive in a sensual come-on, fragile and vulnerable the next in a display of naked honesty, June transports you to another world the moment you hear her voice.

The Independent’s Andy Gill describes Valerie June’s performance as:

“…the most strikingly individual delivery I’ve heard in ages.” Percolating somewhere between Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday, June’s is a stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks voice, the kind that grips your imagination and paints her Southern portraits in vivid detail.

Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Editor: Becky Harlan; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Parker Miles Blohm, Denise DeBelius

Tiny Desk Concerts from NPR’s All Songs Considered features musicians performing at Bob Boilen’s desk in the NPR Music office.

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