Release Date: Mar 10, 2017
Record label: Concord
Tennessee singer-songwriter Valerie June's second full-length album is steeped in old-time country and blues. On opening track "Long Lonely Road," she sings of being taught of "The one way to save your soul," but the songs on The Order of Time offer many paths to enlightenment: love, self-confidence, spirituality and combining all the above. Not to mention music. June seems to take herself seriously as a songwriter, and rightly so; her voice as a songwriter is as sure and distinct as her thickly accented soprano, or the elaborate dreadlocked hairdo that makes her look like a cross between Medusa and Madame de Pompadour.
Valerie June's major label debut Pushin' Against a Stone was hailed as a one of the best albums of 2013, and her follow-up The Order of Time carries and expands the weight of that acclaim. The Order of Time continues June's fusion of a diverse set of influences into a modern eclectic style. The title defines the album's driving force as time and the joys, heartbreaks, and pain one naturally encounters in life.
“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.
Following up her critically lauded 2013 label debut, Pushin' Against a Stone, Tennessean Valerie June offers The Order of Time, an ethereal dream sequence of Americana and roots music filtered through her own unique tendencies. What's refreshing about June is her gift for nuance, working unhurriedly through tones of Appalachian folk, gospel, blues, and even dream pop without feeling the need to hit listeners over the head with an overwrought delivery or even draw that much attention to her own stylistic diversity. With The Order of Time, she exudes the languid pace of the South with poetic songs and spacy arrangements that breeze out through the screen door.
V alerie June's acclaimed 2013 debut, Pushin' Against a Stone, was a crucial stage in a meteoric rise from selling home recordings from a car to supporting the Rolling Stones and winning a fan in Michelle Obama. Her second album finds the Tennessean again blending genres - folk, classic pop, soul and Appalachian bluegrass - into a cohesive whole, thanks to her top-notch songwriting and sublime musicianship. With her sultry ache of a voice, she could presumably sing the phone book and make it quake with feeling.
Valerie June has been making her distinct blend of plaintive folk traditionals, Southern soul, and country blues for more than a decade, but it wasn't until her 2013 breakthrough Pushin' Against A Stone that she established herself as one of the most promising roots synthesizers of her generation. On her latest album, The Order Of Time, June continues to progress and advance as a songwriter, vocalist and arranger. This time, the singer's Memphis influences have never been more pronounced; indeed, the running highlight of June's latest effort is her complete mastery of the mid-tempo soul ballad.