There’s a sensitivity in the drawl of Valerie June’s voice that’s mesmerizing to me. Lots of people have unique voices, but few of them have the mastery over their instrument that she does. June’s got an ability to pull tones, sounds, and emotions out of songs that are unique to her.
She’s got a new record out this month, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, and the song, “Call Me A Fool (feat. Carla Thomas)” has been in heavy rotation in my headphones.
The song’s got a back porch country vibe tucked into a soul with strings arrangement. Everything is smooth but with just enough edge. The lyrics and her delivery, especially the pacing of some of the rhymes and her treatment of the range (low to high) in the melody, create a simmering tension that she builds in the verses and breaks in the choruses.
Her full vocal capabilities are on display here too. And when I say full, I mean she’s giving us everything from a creaky whisper to a conversational confessional to a blown-out wail. Stax legend Carla Thomas on background vocals doesn’t hurt either, but it’s June’s song and she owns it.
Take a listen for yourself. If you like this, her other stuff is well worth exploring too. Here’s “Call Me A Fool (feat. Carla Thomas)” by Valerie June.