Valerie June has one of those rare voices that is immediately recognizable, a mix of Dolly Parton country, Billie Holiday blues and Amy Winehouse retro-soul. Her debut "Pushin' Against a Stone" (Concord) is rarer still, as producers Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Kevin Augunas, of Florence and The Machine fame, help June create just the right musical backdrops to let her voice shine.
She moves effortlessly from the simple, plaintive folk of "Somebody to Love" to the hushed gospel-influenced soul of "The Hour" to the bluesy boogie of "You Can't Be Told," which she co-wrote with Auerbach, and will confirm June as one of 2013's breakout stars.
VALERIE JUNE "Pushin' Against a Stone"
THE GRADE A
BOTTOM LINE Stunning mix of blues, soul and country