Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Album Review: Valerie June- Pushin' Against A Stone

Valerie June
Pushin' Against A Stone
**** out of *****
A dynamically layered, release from Tennessee multi-instrumentalist Valerie June finds this talented songwriter dipping toes into bluegrass, funk, dirty garage rock and country waltzes.  It is her voice that captures your ear immediatly at once sounding light and free as sunshine but with a deeper feeling seemingly just under the surface.

The straight country numbers are sparse with that voice dominating ("Twined & Twisted", "Shotgun" & her cover of "Trials, Troubles, Tribulations ") but it is when June partners with producer Dan Auerbach for tracks like "The Hour", "Wanna Be On Your Mind" and "You Can't Be Told" where that extra sultry style takes over and elevates the whole proceeding. Auerbach adds his signature electric retro blues styling to things while acting as co-writer, backing vocalist and guitarist to songs here. The combo of June's vocals and Auerbach's audio enhancements is enchanting as tracks drip with an eerie feeling.

The disk doesn't have the smoothest of flows, the pure Americana of "Tennessee Time" awkwardly bounces up against the buzzing title track, but taken individually both tracks are fantastic. June's voice can feel like Dolly Parton one minute and Billie Holiday the next as she works her way through these songs. Lyrically June will only grow but her tastes and influences seem to point all in the right direction, Booker T. Jones even shows up to help out on disk closer "On My Way", co-written with June.      

June calls her style, "organic moonshine roots music" and that covers the bases, but Auerbach has injected some power to that combo and it works wonderfully. An amazing debut album Pushin' Against A Stone touches on lots of different possibilities while showcasing Valerie June as a dynamic new voice on the scene.  
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A really good disk that is a combo of a bunch of styles. June's voice is the real star here although it should be said everything Auerbach has produced lately we have loved.

Support the Artist here, buy the album here, peep some video below:


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