Valerie June

DSP Shows Presents:

Valerie June

Sunny War

Wed · February 7, 2018

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$25.00 - $35.00

Valerie June
Valerie June
"Understanding the order of time is important to anyone hoping to manifest a dream," says Valerie June. "There is a time to push, and a time to gently tend the garden."

Since the release of her 2013 breakout Pushin' Against A Stone, June has been patiently at work in the garden of song, nurturing seedlings with love and care into the lush bloom that is her stunning new album, The Order Of Time. Some songs grew from seeds planted more than a decade ago, others blossomed overnight when she least expected them to, but every track bears the influence of time. See, time has been on June's mind a lot lately. It's the only constant in life, even though it's constantly changing. It's the healer of all wounds, the killer of all men. It's at once infinite and finite, ever flowing with twists and turns and brutal, churning rapids that give way to serene stretches of placid tranquility. Fight against the current and it will knock you flat on your ass. Learn to read it, to speak its language, and it will carry you exactly where you're meant to be.

"Time is the ruler of Earth's rhythm," June explains. "Our daily lives revolve around it. Our hearts beat along to its song. If we let it, it can be a powerful guide to turning our greatest hopes and dreams into realities."

June knows a thing or two about turning hopes and dreams into realities. With Pushin' Against A Stone, she went from self-releasing her music as Tennessee's best kept secret to being hailed by the New York Times as one of America's "most intriguing, fully formed new talents." The New Yorker was captivated by her "unique, stunning voice," while Rolling Stone dubbed her "unstoppable," and NPR called her "an elemental talent born with the ability to rearrange the clouds themselves." She astonished TV audiences from coast-to-coast with spellbinding performances on The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Austin City Limits, Rachael Ray, and CBS Saturday Morning, and graced some of the world's most prestigious stages, from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center. First Lady Michelle Obama invited June to The White House, and she toured with artists like Sharon Jones&The Dap Kings, Sturgill Simpson, Norah Jones, and Jake Bugg in addition to flooring festival crowds at Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Newport Folk, Hangout, ACL, Pickathon, Mountain Jam and more. In the UK, the reaction was similarly ecstatic. June performed on Later...with Jools Holland, joined a bill with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, and took the press by storm. Uncut praised her "remarkably careworn vocals," MOJO swooned for her "glorious sound," and The Independent's Andy Gill wrote, "June has the most strikingly individual delivery I've heard in ages."

When it came time to record the follow-up, June felt liberated by the success, fearless and more confident than ever in trusting her instincts and following her muse. There was to be no rushing the music, no harvesting a song before it was ripe on the vine and ready to be plucked. When she sensed the time was right, she headed to rural Guilford, Vermont, with producer Matt Marinelli, spending long stretches through the fall and winter living and recording away from the hustle and bustle of her adopted home of Brooklyn.

"They made us feel so welcome in Vermont," remembers June. "I was cooking amazing food and hanging out with the band all the time. There were long talks and long walks in the snow, and friends would come up for holidays. I felt like I put myself in a place where I could really soar. With the last album, I was absorbing and learning and developing so much in the studio, but this is me taking the things I learned and the things I felt in my heart and fighting for them."

In her heart, June is a songwriter first and foremost, willing and able to blur the lines between genres and eras of sounds. The result is an eclectic blend of folk and soul and country and R&B and blues that is undoubtedly the finest work of her career. Opener "Long Lonely Road" settles in like languid southern heat, as June looks back to the sacrifices of her parents and grandparents, singing in a gentle near-whisper of the sometimes difficult, sometimes beautiful journey we all must undertake in search of brighter days. On the soulful "Love You Once Made," her voice is backed by rich horns and vintage organ as she makes peace with the specter of loss and the ephemeral nature of our relationships, while the bluesy juke joint rocker "Shake Down" features backup vocals from her brothers, Jason and Patrick Hockett and father, Emerson Hockett recorded at home in Tennessee, and "Man Done Wrong" centers on a hypnotic banjo riff that's more African than Appalachian.

"People shouldn't necessarily think of bluegrass when they see the banjo," explains June. "It was originally an African instrument, and people in America used to play all kinds of banjo: mandolin banjo, ukulele banjo, bass banjo, classical banjo, jazz banjo, there were even banjo orchestras. For some reason people like to limit it and say it just has to be in folk and bluegrass, but to me it can be in anything, and I really wanted to set the banjo free on this record."

The banjo turns up again later as the underpinning of the R&B rave-up "Got Soul," which plays out like a mission statement for the entire album, as June offers to "sing a country tune" or "play the blues" but reveals that underneath it all is her sweet soul. Those genre terms might be simplistic ways to attempt to define her, empty signifiers creating distinctions between sounds where June sees none. "With You" channels the sprightly, ethereal beauty of Nico with fingerpicked electric guitar and cinematic strings, "Slip Slide On By" grooves with shades of Van Morrison, and "If And" slowly builds over meditative hum that hints at John Cale.

Despite the music's varied nature, the songs all belong to a cohesive family, in part because they're tied together by June's one-of-a-kind voice, and because they're all pieces of a larger rumination on the passage of time and how it affects us. The ultimate takeaway from tracks like "The Front Door" and "Just In Time" is that the present is all we have. Everything around us (our loved ones, our youth, our beauty) will someday fade and disappear, but that transience is what makes those things all the more magical. We're given this brief moment to share our love and light with the world, and when, as June sings on the album, "Time's hands turn and point straight towards you," you'd better be ready.

Thankfully for us, June was ready when time told her to harvest these songs. In the garden, as in life, there is a time for everything and the moment has finally arrived to enjoy the fruits of all her labor. With The Order Of Time, Valerie June has prepared a bountiful feast, and there's a seat at the table for everyone.
Sunny War
Sunny War
Sunny War (born Sydney Lyndella Ward) is more than just an artist; she is a force of nature that is tough to pin down. What exactly is her style? Is she a blues or punk artist? The answer is yes and no. You can try to place Sunny in a few boxes, but doing so would be a major disservice to the young songstress. Yes, she may be a Robert Johnson with a shot of Bad Brains, but even this description falls short. The only way to really know Sunny is to immerse oneself in the music. Easy enough, right? OK, maybe not that easy.

Sunny was born to single mother just over 20 years ago. Her childhood was unconventional. One way to describe it is nomadic. Her mother’s bohemian lifestyle had Sunny moving from place to place, including stays in Colorado and Michigan. Most stays were not for very long, usually about a year or so. “Throughout my whole childhood, I was in a different place every other year, so naturally, I am not used to staying in one place for too long. I think it is time to leave once people get to know your name,” she comically explains.

Early life was somewhat of a struggle because there were many instances Sunny experienced being different from her peers. This was especially evident when she moved from Michigan to Tennessee. “I lived in a predominately white suburb while I was in Rochester, Michigan. When I went to Nashville, I did not ‘talk Nashville.’ I felt the kids at school were really closed-minded, mostly because we were in the Bible Belt. They would harass me all the time. I was also small for my age and wore glasses, “says Sunny. She found music to be the ultimate refuge. “I was really depressed all the time, but I was playing guitar all the time. I would hang out with my cat. I did not have a lot of friends when I was younger,” says Sunny.



By the age of 13, Sunny taught herself to play guitar and began to write her own original songs. She credits her mother’s boyfriends for introducing her to the blues. Once that fire to create sparked, there was no turning back. Eventually, Sunny decided California would be a good place to try to set down some kind of roots and get her music heard. She found herself living and performing on the streets of San Francisco and San Diego.

After a short time, Sunny felt that familiar feeling…the need to change her scenery. She felt a strong connection to the eclectic art center, Venice Beach, CA, where she has become a mainstay performer on the world famous boardwalk on and off for 7 years.

In addition to memorable boardwalk performances, Sunny continued with a side project, Anus Kings, as an outlet for other musical interests. The band created a buzz in the local LA punk scene with frequent performances at the famed Downtown punk favorite, The Smell. “With Anus Kings, I try write punk stuff, but I try to write like a blues musician would,” she says when talking about her punk influence. Local art and music advocates in Venice soon caught wind of the young guitarists’ claw hammer style—a complex banjo style of guitar playing frequently used by Southern acoustic blues guitarists. After years of paying dues, fans and critics are finally beginning to “get it.”



Then there is her voice with all the melancholy found in Billie Holliday and its remarkable ability to cut through the listener’s heart like a hot knife through butter. Many Venice Beach cultural notables, including Gerry Fialka, have publically sung their praise (no pun intended). Soon, influential publications like the LA Weekly took notice. The attention resulted in a feature article by Michael Simmons. In the article, Fialka is quoted saying, “Sunny is going to blow your mind. She is like no one else.” http://www.laweekly.com/2009-07-16/music/meet-sunny-war/.



Sunny’s repertoire includes an expansive collection of songs exploring personal aspects of her life. Her lyrics prove she is not afraid to share her insights and philosophies on life. In her track, “Man of My House,” Sunny speaks on the trials and tribulations of living without a father in the home and inheriting the role of head of the household. Other tracks are just as powerful, but also contain a dose political philosophy as exemplified in the moving blues tracks, “Police State” and “Sheep.” There is also “Downtown–”a track that touches on the damage to one’s life drugs can cause without warning.

Sunny has indeed blown people away as evidenced by signing a sponsorship deal with Gibson Guitars and signed with performance rights organization BMI.
Venue Information:
The Egg
1 State Street
Albany, NY, 12207
http://theegg.org