Already a bit of a sensation in the U.K. and Europe (thanks to an appearance on Later…With Jools Holland and a tour with Jake Bugg), Tennessee native Valerie June is starting to get some well-deserved recognition stateside. She recently played back-to-back sold out shows at Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago (capacity a mere 200 people) that highlighted material from her debut album Pushin’ Against a Stone, which was co-produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.
The late show at Schuba’s found June (on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo) and her crack band (violin, bass, electric guitar and drums) in fine form on the tracks “Workin’ Woman Blues,” the breathtaking “Somebody to Love,” the Twin Peaks roadhouse-worthy “The Hour,” the straight-up country “Tennessee Time,” “Pushin’ Against a Stone” (which benefitted from some excellent psychedelic blues guitar) and the gang vocal standout “You Can’t Be Told.”
The show was presented by the Chicago radio staple WXRT and introduced by longtime on-air personality Terri Hemmert, who compared June to African American roots music legends Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. The singer (visually striking in massive dreadlocks and fur collar) channeled those forbearers while also bringing to mind a diverse cast of influences including Ma Carter, Dolly Parton, Bob Marley and Erykah Badu.
November finds Valerie June returning to Europe for shows in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands. U.K. dates at the end of the month find her making stops in Brighton, Bristol and London.
Find out more at valeriejune.com