“I know y’all didn’t pay to hear me talk crazy,” said Valerie June. That didn’t stop her. The onetime busker from Tennessee made herself at home, rambling and giggling, spilling secrets and, here and there, playing some songs.
The 35-year-old has found some success occupying the sweet spot where country brushes past soul, and won over collaborators including Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Norah Jones. Well aware that she is an acquired taste, she made digs at her own voice, a high downhome yowl that sounded sharper on the ears here than it does on her albums.
When the tone softened, however, as on the hypnotic organ drone of Two Hearts, she deserved to be taken seriously. The dusty folk of Twined & Twisted, which she said was sung to her by “a pretty boy” in a dream, could have been a hundred years old if it wasn’t for the line about losing someone’s phone number.
In a glittering jumpsuit, somehow getting guitars and banjos over a head spilling over with dreadlocks, she’s definitely an anomaly among those who make this kind of music. But when her full band, horns and all, reached full power on Love You Once Made, she looked the part completely – the good kind of crazy.