Valerie June’s in Tune at SummerStage!
On a starry summer’s night, Valerie June showed concert goers at Central Park’s SummerStage why her music is spellbinding an ever growing legion of music lovers around the globe. Her 19-song set featured “Man Done Wrong,” “Slip Slide,” “Astral Plane,” “Two Hearts” and a rousing version of “Shakedown,” all from The Order of Time, her new album that is finding a home on an ever expanding universe of playlists. She also performed “The Hour” and an enraptured version of “Somebody to Love” from Pushin’ Against A Stone, her 2013 album release that helped catapult her career.
The Tennessee native, now a Brooklyn resident, put her unique and magical voice on display throughout the electrifying evening. Her eight-member band included members of Aloysyius 3, along with their horn section, which blended seamlessly with Ms. June’s commanding stage presence, which was highlighted by her scintillating performance outfit. Maryland native and current Londoner Jelan N’Gonda opened the evening, with a solo acoustic set of original R&B songs that was well received. He was followed by a mesmerizing set of jazz-rock fusion music from organist Pete Remm, guitarist Dan Iead and drummer Greg Wieczorek, who are known as Aloysius 3. The trio also toured in support of Brooklyn’s Norah Jones, on her most recent tour, earlier this year. Ms. Jones also did background vocals on the studio version of “Shakedown.”
Valerie June is not only an exciting performer; she is an accomplished songwriter, having written all 12 tracks on The Order of Time. She has also mastered the intricate nuances of playing guitar, banjo and ukulele. Her music is a blend of musical genres – Americana, alternative, roots rock, folk, blues, soul, bluegrass, ethereal and dream pop, which she somehow manages to make her own. Music aficionados might do well to make Valerie June’s music their own.