Context – still obsessing over Fallout
I have a problem, you guys.
Unrelated to my gaming woes, today I found a new stylish gem from the SXSW playlist on Spotify: Valerie June’s latest album, The Order of Time.
Valerie June’s music falls broadly under the folk umbrella, but I think that might be people hesitating to put a black woman in a country band. This sounds almost exactly like that Margot Price album I have, but with a bit of a soul twist. Just a bit. And that might be my own appropriating genres onto a black woman because it’s easy to call a black singer “soulful,” but there’s an undeniably attention-holding quality to Valerie’s voice that has all the raspy joyfulness of Otis Redding, so it’s a seemingly fitting comparison to make. I guess we’re calling this thoughtful, folk-twist on country music “Americana” these days, although in my head there’s usually more banjo in Americana. I’m probably getting Americana confused with Appalachian music.
Defining an artist by genre is hard, you guys.
There’s a straight-forwardness to this music that belies the depth it possesses; there’s a lot of sepia flavor on this that occurs naturally, as opposed to being a post-production filter. Everything builds naturally and earnestly out of a respect for all things that twang without the necessary association with tweed that is commonly evoked these days. I don’t feel like I’m getting a vision parsed through what someone expects to be digestible, The Order of Time ruminates comfortably among itself, lashing out from time to time to test the strength of the pot boiling Valerie June down to her most distilled self.
Defining an artist through flowery prose isn’t much easier than genre conventions.
This album is super fucking good and I’m glad this kind of music has a home in 2017. I hope I remember Valerie June exists when I go on my next record buying spree. That’s about as straight as I can shoot it what with my twitchy eye and bum wrist.