Pushin' Against A Stone
Label: Concord Records
Good luck pinning Valerie June down. She opens Pushin' Against A Stone with "Workin' Woman Blues," a blues lament that shifts into an Afrobeat rhythm with piping horns, offers a bluegrass waltz on "Somebody to Love," then dips into spooky torch balladry on "The Hour" -- all within the first three songs. She has a sharp, twangy voice full of emotion, and when she sings "Got no place in this ole world" on "Twined & Twisted," we believe her. And when she seduces us over the Memphis groove of "Wanna Be On Your Mind," it's clear she's destined to be more than just a critic's darling.