I’ve been gone for a long time but it looks like I am finally crawling out of the alcoholic stupor the past two years had me and I am refinding the itch to tell people about the music that is giving me eargasms. Needless to say, my “albums to review” folder was old as shit resulting in most of it just getting deleted with the assumption I would just pick up with the new shit and just move forward. When it came to deleting Ms. June’s album I just couldn’t do it. A quick google search confirmed we’d never discussed it on the web site so I decided to throw fuck all to the wind and tell y’all about an album that came out last year.
I first found out about Valerie June via the short lived 5 Dollar Cover. It was a show created by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) on MTV (loosely) about the Memphis music scene highlighting Lucero, Amy LaVere, Al Kapone, Harlan T. Bobo and this weird dude called Muck Sticky that I, personally, found to be the most entertaining part of the show. That said, the best part of the show came in an simple scene near the end of one of the episodes where this black girl is sitting on a porch singing this song that just blew me away. Immediately; I was obsessed with this girl from Memphis named Valerie June who essentially had no web presence and no music site and did not respond to emails.
Time passes and I occasionally do a google search to see if she has any music out with no luck. Then, I see her on the SxSW schedule the last year I went. BAM! Immediately on the “do not miss this one” list. Side note: I bumped into her at the Black Joe Lewis showcase that afternoon and totally fan boyed out on her. She was still unknown, unsigned and not used to that shit I assume. I’m pretty sure I creeped her out. LOL. Back to the story though…..I went. I cheered. I marveled at her hair and I am relatively sure I was one of the 5% who knew who she was. Needless to say, I left happy and content to keep looking for her music from time to time. All of a sudden, she explodes on the news circuit. She has an album coming out and the mutherfucker is produced my production whore, Dan Auerbach and it’s called Pushin’ Against A Stone.
I’d never heard Valerie with a band prior to hearing Pushin’ Against A Stone and now, as much as I’d loved her prior stuff, I never wanna hear her any other way. This album is so smooth. So soulful. So sexy. If nobody has gotten pregnant while “Wanna Be On Your Mind” was playing then we have failed as a country. Sometimes, while listening to this album, I think this is what Motown would have evolved into and the forerunners would be proud.