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4.5 out of 5 stars
Pushin' Against a Stone
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2013
Stunning debut for Valerie June, channelling old time songsters like sister Rosetta Thorpe to modern chanteuse Cassandra Wilson.
Impeccable playing and production assisted by Black Key Dan Auerbach. Buy the vinyl and complete the experience with a visual enhancement as the cover is one of the most compelling images of album cover art to come along in a long time, even the card is heavy duty to encase the 180gram record. In an age of mediocrity and instant disposability Pushin' against a stone is a precious jewel to treasure.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2013
Bought this after reading previous reviews in Amazon and two music mags. I'd never heard of her before so it was a gamble that really paid off. Her voice is a little disconcerting at first, but by the second track I was totally won over. A great mix of blues, country and jazz influences that blend together beautufully. My advice is ignore the few derogatory reviews and put faith in the overwhelming number of complimentary ones. Take a chance and you won't be disappointed. It is many years since I was this enthused about a piece of music. It is simply beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
A very varied collection of song styles and arrangements - all well presented. Valerie has a "presence" which add character to each song. Her performance on "Jools" was mesmerising and I can't wait to see her live!
I bought the vinyl version - which is high quality vinyl and sounds fantastic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2013
All I can say is this is just an absolute class album from start to finish! Such an array of different sounds/styles such as raw stripped down blues, soul, motown, bluegrass and a hint of Winehouse in a couple of tracks. Listened to it once and thought it was good, listened to it three times and found it mesmerizingly brilliant. I'm sure anyone buying this would not be disappointed + the fact that Dan Auerbach has sprinkled it with his magic gives the album an authentic sound that has long since passed. Best CD I've bought in a long time. Can't wait see her in Bristol, November!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I recently went to the U.K., and created an itunes account while I was there. This was available in their store in April, and this week they offered one of her songs as the "free single of the week". Amazing that I had to go to another continent to find out about an artist who is from Tennessee, just up the road from where I live. I believe she is going to set the music world on fire. There is something about the way she looks, coupled with the honesty and pureness of her music that just captivates. It's twangy, bluesy, and even has shades of Winehouse in there as well. I'm really glad Amazon U.S. is making the "on demand" cd-r of this album available, since the album doesn't drop here until August. The sound is great, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves discovering a new artist who's blossoming--before the rest of the world catches on. She is definitely one to watch. Google her, and check out the youtube video introducing this album. I suspect she is a huge star in the making. She's certainly stirring things up with you guys in the U.K.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2013
Think you'll either love or loathe Valerie's voice, just that little bit different. Album crosses many musical genres and should appeal to Blues/Gospel et al
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2013
I saw Valerie in concert at the end of April and she played most of this album even though it had't been released yet. I bought one of her earlier bluegrass EPs (which was equally great)and couldn't wait to buy this album. Her voice is so different and somewhat hard to describe but utterly amazing. Can't wait to see her again in Belfast - she did promise to come back in June for the Open House Festival but haven't seen anything yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2013
Love it! Bought the album after a recommendation from a friend and it is simply stunning! Such a unique voice coupled with excellent, melody driven song writing. I know it will be my summer soundtrack already. Couldn't recommend it more!
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on 24 July 2013
Valerie June is a quality singer-songwriter. I ordered this CD based on a review from my favorite music magazine and was not disappointed. Since then, I also had a chance to see her live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. She is very good in concert as well, being an accomplished musician and having a tight band. The "easy, mellow, soft" style of her music is not the one which takes off in live concerts. But the music is good: a combination of many styles - mostly country and blues, which is to be excpected, since Valerie is from Tennessee - with hints of jazz. Beautiful music from a beautiful lady!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
There was a time when plenty of country singers had twangy nasal voices, but those voices limited their appeal. It didn't stop Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and others having plenty of success, and it didn't appear to be stopping Dolly Parton, but she worked hard to change her voice as anybody who has listened to her music from different periods of her career would have noticed. So we come to Valerie June, who doesn't quite sound like any of her predecessors, although I detect echoes of Iris DeMent and Kitty Wells here and there.

Valerie wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs, which also appears to be original. On two tracks (Shotgun, Twisted and twined) she sings and plays guitar without any other musicians. A third track (Trials, troubles, tribulations) finds Valerie just singing to a musician playing guitar and providing male backing vocals.

Elsewhere, more instruments are used but not many on any given track. There is a trumpet player on the opening track (Workin' woman blues). Valerie plays ukulele while singing on two other tracks (On my way, Somebody to love).

This is a great album if you like country music sung by a woman with a twangy nasal voice. It won't be to everybody's liking, but it is to mine.
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