This weeks iTunes Single of the Week comes from the multitalented singer songwriter Valerie June Hockett; aka Valerie June. Hailing from Tennessee, Valerie’s sound is an effortless mix of Blues/Jazz/Folk/Gospel/Soul with Appalachian and Bluegrass thrown into the mix.
Having worked in and around the music industry since she was nineteen, June is no stranger to the hard work and harder slough of the music business. Having worked with the likes of Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and producers such as Kevin Augunas and John Forte; and already self-releasing three albums including: The Way Of The Weeping Willow (2006), Mountain Of Rose Quartz (2008) and Valerie June And The Tennessee Express (2010) (only currently available in America… sad times!). Valerie’s debut album as a signed artist ‘Pushin’ Against A Stone’ has been out and here at TWSH we think it’s definitely worth a listen. Especially if ‘You Can’t be Told’ is anything to go by.
June’s Blues/Jazz/Soul roots are definitely strong here (the force is strong with this one… geek moment sorry!). With a vocal sound similar to a young Aretha Franklin, with echoes of the sultry clearness of Nancy Sinatra, there is a lilt to the phrasing that is both classically and electrically soulful. Add to this a mix of gritty guitar riffs in the style of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan which, during the entire song, feel like the build up of tension before a storm. However it still manages to effortlessly contrast against the backdrop of laid back bass melody and to chill the vibe, like cola on ice. The guitars definitely add an element of cool, which in turn makes the track feel like it is in itself the backdrop to a lazy southern fifties/sixties afternoon complete with high hems and even higher quiffs. The peaks and troughs of solos and chorus focuses your attention on the track throughout while the guitar bridge solo towards the end adds a wild sexiness. The lasting Beach Boys style note adds a cuteness and familiarity that allows the song to stick to your nerve endings.
While this weeks track is a short one and doesn’t have much lyrically to remember, it does contain enough enthusiasm melodically to make the song memorable; so much so that you might be left humming it after. If we actually were having a summer right now, this would definitely be on the playlist.
Download ‘You Can’t Be Told’