Enchanting sounds of birds and wind chimes floated through the Fonda Friday night as fans ecstatically waited to hear Grammy-nominated country music star, Valerie June.
“I’ve had my ticket for 6 months.” A young woman in the front said.
“I’ve only been waiting to see her for 3 years,” a man in the crowd tells me excitedly as he rushes to get his drink in time to make his way back to the crowd.
Surrounded by flowers, Valerie June sang of dreamers and love-fools in her Memphis drawl while she transported listeners through a sonic time machine of Southern music. At first listen, June’s sound is reminisces to Tina Turner and The Dixie Cups attop bluegrass and folk cords, but her sound is so unique that comparing her is a disservice.
I suggest you get lost in Valerie Junes discography and catch her next live show. She is truly one of a kind.
As soon as June started her Grammy-nominated song “Call Me A Fool,” which has added vocals from Queen of Memphis Soul — Carla Thomas — I was hooked. I watched as crowds of couples from all walks of life embraced each other and swayed side by side. Other love-struck people clutched their chest and belted out the words with her.
Moments before June graced the stage, disco-folk artist, Caitlin Jemma, opened the night. Jemma … June as the inspiration to her song “Morning Sun.” While on tour with Valerie June in the past, June asked Jemma what were her goals. She tells the crows that she gave a superficial answer of, “Red rocks and Saturday night life and opening for you again.”
But when she got on the plane, she though what would she want If those things did not happen. She wanted to, ”Feel and heal and be real with you.” That is the magic of Valerie June.
Throughout the night concert-goers were reminded that we need feel good music. The kind that slows us down and takes us somewhere in our emotions and inspires us to keep going. Thank you Valerie June.
Photography & Words by Asha Moné