Roots singer-songwriter Valerie June is back with her newest album, The Order of Time, on March 10.
Valerie June’s fourth full-length album is filled with beautiful sounds, simultaneously old and new. Layered with soulful horns, strings and finger-picked guitar, the album also features a great deal of banjo –in ways your ears may not be accustomed to hearing.
“People shouldn’t necessarily think of bluegrass when they see the banjo,” explains June. “It was originally an African instrument, and people in America used to play all kinds of banjo: mandolin banjo, ukulele banjo, bass banjo, classical banjo, jazz banjo, there were even banjo orchestras. For some reason people like to limit it and say it just has to be in folk and bluegrass, but to me it can be in anything, and I really wanted to set the banjo free on this record.”
The resulting sound is warm, organic, and timeless. The Order of Time examines the concept of time, which has been weighing on June’s mind.
“Time is the ruler of Earth’s rhythm,” she says. “Our daily lives revolve around it. Our hearts beat along to its song. If we let it, it can be a powerful guide to turning our greatest hopes and dreams into realities.”
June grew up in rural Western Tennessee, learning music through her Church of Christ choir and congregation. The 35-year-old musician encapsulates Americana on the album through the voices of her family, as well as singer and friend Norah Jones and other contributors. June’s signature vocals are simultaneously evocative of Holly Golightly and Billie Holiday, voices not often heard in today’s popular music.
June often describes her sound as “organic moonshine roots music,” a mix of blues, Southern soul, country, old-timey gospel and folk. She creates a sound that lives somewhere between Appalachia and the Mississippi.
“Being from Memphis, I truly love all of the different genres of music that were born and married there,” the musician tells Rolling Stone. “Blues, gospel, rockabilly, country, I love all of it. At first, they didn’t know what to call my music. So I knew I had to help people out. I wanted to call it something magical, and at the core of blues, gospel, folk, and rock & roll is roots music — so that’s what I ended up calling it.”
Order of Time was recorded in rural Guilford, Vermont, where June and her producer found creative solace away from the their bustling Brooklyn, New York, homes. Over the fall and winter, June and producer Matt Marinelli found themselves sinking into the comforts of country creativity.
“They made us feel so welcome in Vermont,” June recalls. “I was cooking amazing food and hanging out with the band all the time. There were long talks and long walks in the snow, and friends would come up for holidays. I felt like I put myself in a place where I could really soar. With the last album, I was absorbing and learning and developing so much in the studio, but this is me taking the things I learned and the things I felt in my heart and fighting for them.”
Adorned by June’s beautiful lyrics, The Order of Time is a journey through the artist’s life. Celebrate the transience of time and love through her tales of past and future in The Order of Time.