On the Phone with Valerie June

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_MG_8782.jpgWell, the last episode of $5 Cover aired last Friday night, and so far, life remains relatively normal for the Memphis musicians featured in the series. In this week's print edition of The Memphis Flyer, I report on upcoming releases by Harlan T. Bobo, Lucero, and Two Way Radio. And today, I caught up with Valerie June to talk about her plans for the summer.

Flyer: Has anything changed for you since $5 Cover first aired?

June: Regionally, people don’t call my phone and expect me to do gigs for free anymore! Nationally, I haven’t gotten any response yet. I have a lot of producers interested in working with me based on my appearance in $5 Cover, which is awesome. One of the things that has really slowed me down is I haven’t had a good recording. I've done a lot of bedroom sessions, [but] I need to have a good record to get me to the next level.

Are you looking for a label deal?

People are interested, but I'm just not looking right now unless it’s the right, right deal. Being indie, I don’t care that much about making a lot of money, just about making a switch from cleaning houses and working at Maggie’s Pharm to making music full-time.

What's been the toughest part of seeing yourself on TV?

I criticize myself a lot. Is that my manner, my facial expressions? While someone else is talking to me, do I stand like that? After I saw it the first time, it was fine. It’s so cool to turn on the TV and see the ads for $5 Cover. You go to the TV guide, and $5 Cover is in the channel listings.

Where can your local fans catch you this summer?

I’m at all the Fresh Slices restaurants — Midtown, Bartlett, and Cordova — on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Some weekends I’m at the Cove, and at Harry’s On Teur downtown. Java Cabana every few months. The Shell. All the main places where musicians are in the summertime, I'm playing 'em. They’re different crowds — kids at the early shows, and party people at the late night shows. Other than that, I start recording with some folks in Nashville on June 15th. I’ll go up there different times throughout the summer and record a song here and a song there to see what producer I work with the best. I'm also planning to record one song with Jim Dickinson.

Anything else?

I'm going to a conference in Chicago this weekend to learn how to build one of these Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. I want to travel around from city to city and play gigs in this house that's 100-percent solar. I can take my house anywhere, play my songs, and sit on the front porch. I'm going to play my folk songs and live this traveling gypsy life while helping to keep that music alive. Eventually, I hope to have a caravan of musicians that can go from city to city like a medicine show. If I have the frame finished, I hope to have my house ready to debut at the Cooper-Young Festival. Hopefully it will be done by the time I release my next CD, in late fall.

Listen to Valerie June's latest recordings, for the Ardent Sessions, here:

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