Tennessee singer-songwriter Valerie June's second full-length album is steeped in old-time country and blues. On opening track "Long Lonely Road," she sings of being taught of "The one way to save your soul," but the songs on The Order of Time offer many paths to enlightenment: love, self-confidence, spirituality and combining all the above.
Not to mention music. June seems to take herself seriously as a songwriter, and rightly so; her voice as a songwriter is as sure and distinct as her thickly accented soprano, or the elaborate dreadlocked hairdo that makes her look like a cross between Medusa and Madame de Pompadour. On a track like "Love You Once Made," she's at once mournful and accusatory, feeling the pain of a lost love while uncompromisingly placing the blame. And then she'll write a bluesy, hip-twitching rocker like "Shakedown," which is the kind of song that, if recorded by the likes of Jack White or the Black Keys, would be so popular it'd be inescapable.
The Order of Time is a work of experience, wry observation and mystical self-creation. June is no ingénue or girl-done-wrong; her persona as a creator is both spellbinding and well versed in the ways of the world. This is the singer-songwriter as wise woman, as wickedly sharp village witch. (Concord)