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Tuned In: Valerie June, and more

  • Abba Mania

  • Haley Moley

  • Les Derailleurs 

  • Palehound

  • Valerie June



Friday, February 02, 2018

Valerie June once called her unclassifiable sound “organic moonshine roots music,” but no label can describe the way the singer/songwriter can get at your heart with her voice. She plays the Academy of Music in Northampton on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

The first time I heard June sing, my immediate description was “Dolly Parton meets Joanna Newsom,” and I’m sticking with it. She was raised in rural Tennessee and sang in church, and when she moved to Memphis in high school, she began playing guitar, banjo and ukulele, getting inspired by The Carter Family, “Mississippi” John Hurt and others.

June’s newest album, “The Order of Time,” was recorded not far from here in Guilford, Vermont, and ended up on numerous “Best of 2017” lists (Rolling Stone, New York Times, Magnet, Paste, No Depression and many others). There are wonderfully dreamy high points — “Astral Plane,” “With You” and “Two Hearts” (which has a nice Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac / ‘70s vibe) — but she also kicks up some New Orleansy bad-assitude on “Shakedown,” while “If And” is a hypnotic waltz with a singalong hook even if you don’t know the words.

No matter what vintage of song June sings, her vocals take you to a rare place. Her Tiny Desk Concert recorded for NPR in 2013 is mesmerizing. She strums her guitar like she’s frailing a banjo on “Workin’ Woman Blues,” giving some words a yodeling hiccup, and sings playful wordless “de-dee-da”s during “Rain Dance.” Her voice is honest and human, her performance raw and in-the-moment. Catch her while you can.

Local indie band Court Etiquette and formerly local indie band Spirit Ghost (founding frontman Alex Whitelaw has since moved to Providence) play the Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday at 10 p.m.

The Johnny Memphis Band puts together Celtic, blues, rockabilly and New Orleans influences in its good-time sound, and they’ll play Bread Euphoria in Haydenville on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. No cover charge, tips are appreciated.

Peace, Loving (celebrating a record release); Wet Tuna; J Burkett (a rare spoken-word performance); and Xamxax Goom team up for a diverse-as-always, in-store quadruple-bill at Mystery Train Records in Amherst on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Free, but donations for the bands are always appreciated.

Longtime local folk/pop faves The Nields team up with Kalliope Jones for a gig at the Iron Horse on Saturday at 7 p.m.

We won’t get to see the real Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny & Bjorn perform any time soon, so get your classic Swedish pop fix by seeing ABBA Mania (at right) cover all the hits (“Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Waterloo,” “The Winner Takes It All,” etc.) at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Hayler Moley (at left) (Troy, New York), Dyr Faser (Boston) and Old Flame (good ol’ Northampton) are the three acts at this week’s Lowdown show at The Basement in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m. sharp.

The Warblers (featuring Mike Mascis on vocals and guitar), Beasthampton and Vimana bring you “rock of the most visceral sort, from the psychedelic garages and basements of western MA” at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Pianist Judith Gordon performs Felix Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words, Vol. III, Op 38” and Reena Esmail’s “Rang De Basant” at the latest Music In the Noon Hour concert at Sweeney Concert Hall on the Smith College campus in Northampton on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Free!

Palehound (at left, the acclaimed indie-rock band founded and fronted by Ellen Kempner) and Weaves (Toronto indie-rock quartet led by vocalist Jasmyn Burke) are joined by local act Hammydown (singer/songwriter Abbie Morin’s band project) at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Mia Valentini kicks off her solo tour sharing a bill with Niagara Moon and singer/songwriter Hoonah at The Royal Monarch in Easthampton on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Les Derailleurs, (at left) The Feldons and The Boogalistics are at Flywheel in Easthampton on Thursday at 8 p.m. 

Fancy Trash, And The Neighbors, and Hartford-based singer/songwriter Robert Ashley are the featured performers at the latest Reanimate the Bay State show at The Sierra Grille in Northampton on Thursday at 10 p.m.