Valerie June, ep. 143

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Editor's note: Lizzie No interviews Valerie June on Basic Folk! Be sure to got back and listen to Lizzie's previous guest host spots on the pod and subscribe, so you never miss Lizzie!

Today’s guest, Valerie June, grew up as country as country gets in Jackson, Tennessee. She remembers writing songs at an early age with frogs and rainbows as her inspiration. Her musical world was divided between the church, where the voice was a tool for worship and instruments were forbidden, and the secular world where she helped out with her father’s side hustle as a promoter in the local music scene.

After a stint in a band, June struck out on her own as a solo artist, influenced by the thriving Memphis musical community she found herself in. Her solo work is shaped by blues, folk, rock, and spiritual influences, and it was fascinating to talk to her about the role of intuition in her writing. Her latest album, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, is a powerful step on her path as a one-of-a-kind creator who shapes new worlds with each track. The album features a range of emotions, from meditation to celebration, not to mention a guest appearance from the one and only Carla Thomas.

I also took this interview as an opportunity to get a little personal about my own journey as a folk artist. Valerie June has had an enormous impact on my musical path and it was a privilege to hear the stories behind some of the songs that made me who I am as a songwriter, in particular, working woman blues from the album Pushin Against a Stone.


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