Valerie June: Live From The Blue Note
Valerie June graced The Blue Note in Columbia, MO with her talent on April 26, 2019. If you are not familiar with Valerie, let me tell you a little bit about her. Born in Jackson, TN but now residing in Memphis, she mixes blues, folk, gospel, soul, country, Appalachian, and bluegrass into a style that she has dubbed as “organic moonshine roots music.” She got her start as many musicians do, in the church, but also had the influence of R&B and soul music from her father. June began actively performing in 2000 upon moving to Memphis where she taught herself to play the guitar and banjo. Her collaborations span from Old Crow Medicine Show to the Black Keys on her album, Pushin’ Against a Stone. Her popularity expands from the United States to across the globe.
She is nothing less than eclectic and her set at The Blue Note was simply magical. After a couple of songs, she spoke about how she wanted us to leave feeling so loved. Her solo time on stage was filled with immense gratitude to the crowd and repeatedly saying how she had to come back. Her energy and smile were contiguous, and she glowed with pure joy the entire night as she rotated from her guitar to her banjo. She sparkled from head to toe in a wardrobe with gold shoes and pants covered in crystals. Stopping to share gratitude again to the crowd, she told of how she went to Starbucks before the show and there was a flower on the counter which was a positive sign to her.
She brought the flower with her to The Blue Note. Wrapping her dreadlocks around it in that moment of storytelling, the flower remained there for the night. The crowd sang along to her songs and there were times of women dancing in front of her. Valerie June couldn’t stop smiling while they danced. She made the time on stage feel more like we were all in a living room gathered for a house show. She engaged the crowd with an acapella sing-along to “Got Soul.” I smiled until my face hurt and had tears in my eyes during some songs. I remember her saying, “if you don’t shine, your light is out of balance”. She ended her set and walked off stage. The crowd roared and cheered relentlessly for her return of an encore. After several minutes, Valerie June came back out in a beautiful white and sparkling outfit where she sang by the light of a lamp. She didn't need the lamp, however. Her smile radiated.
After purchasing some merch, I was leaving the venue and saw her coming down the alley to only enter the venue once again to greet her fans. I implore you to expand your musical library and listen to her music. A fellow concert friend had told me about her and her music and of how he’d traveled from Kansas City to Minnesota in winter to see her. I understand it now. She’s indescribable and someone not to be missed for a live show. Valerie June is truly a musical treasure.
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