Valerie June : The Order of Time
Dave Graney once told Triple R listeners that he held Will Oldham in high regard, based on the impression that when listening to Oldham’s work there was an authenticity to it that wasn’t entirely present in other artists attempting the same sorts of things. Valerie June possess that same quality.
The Order of Time has been four years in gestation, June says she was conscious of letting the work develop organically and her lyrics underscore that statement.
Musically, it’s an album steeped in Appalachian folk and vintage blues. Yet, there’s a bracket mid-album – starting with leading single Astral Plane and concluding with With You – that bleeds towards intricate indie pop. Then the sultry soul of Slip Slide On By returns to more conventional gospel-inflected rhythm and blues. The first six songs are all standouts, particularly atmospheric opener Long Lonely Road and the hill-country juke-joint stomp Shakedown.
The Order of Time reflects June’s striking voice and vocal delivery. The range is enthralling: it’s at once rich, abrasive, fragile, celebratory, and raucous. “Time’s hands turn/To point straight your way,” June sings. Time's hands are pointing straight at Valerie June. The album is remarkable.
By Jack Latimore