ACL Live Shot: Valerie June

A history lesson of roots from Tennessee

Those going to both weekends of ACL will be back next Saturday to see Valerie June again
Those going to both weekends of ACL will be back next Saturday to see Valerie June again (by John Anderson)

Valerie June stood holding a guitar at the front of the BMI stage, her swirling crown of righteous locks seemingly telling the story of black roots music from the beginning of time.

Her immense talent was evident even at soundcheck, which unfortunately ran 10 minutes into her set time due to serious sound issues that were only resolved a half-hour later.

The Tennessee native with an otherworldly voice was visibly annoyed with the technical difficulties. Frankly, she deserved better. That won’t be an issue when she inevitably makes a future appearance on Austin City Limits, the small-screen variety.

Despite the snafus, June effortlessly blended deep blues, country twang, and Appalachian mountain music while donning pearls and a new pair of turquoise boots purchased at Allens Boots on South Congress. She started the set solo on the acoustic “I Shall Not Be Moved” before calling on her full band for album standouts “Workin' Woman Blues,” “Tennessee Time,” and the title track from debut tour de force Pushin’ Against a Stone.

Switching instruments every few songs, June wielded a ukulele (“This is little baby. All babies are sweet, but she’s especially sugary.”) on “Somebody to Love” and an old-school electric Gibson on “Shotgun,” the blood red axe serving as deadly weapon.

“It’s always good to throw in a murder ballad,” deadpanned the young thirtysomething.

The bonus of a two-weekend festival is that the soundman has a chance to redeem himself, or risk being the subject of the next one.


For more ACL Fest coverage, see austinchronicle.com/acl. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.
READ MORE
More ACL Fest 2013
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
UPDATE: ACL acts including Mowglis make alternate plans

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 13, 2013

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
Robert Smith summons the rain

Doug Freeman, Oct. 13, 2013

More Valerie June
SXSW Music Interview: Valerie June
SXSW Music Interview: Valerie June
This Memphis singer is no overnight sensation

Jim Caligiuri, March 17, 2017

SXSW Wednesday Record Reviews
Valerie June
The Order of Time (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, March 17, 2017

More by Thomas Fawcett
Texas Platters
Kiko Villamizar
Aguas Frías (Record Review)

April 28, 2017

SXSW Music Live: The Roots & Friends
SXSW Music Live: The Roots & Friends
“This is the best shit of the whole South By!”

March 19, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

ACL Fest 2013, Valerie June

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES