I'm watching a video of Valerie June's 2015 appearance on “Live at Elvis's,” a performance space housed in Elvis's former digs on Audubon Drive in Memphis. Valerie June begins upbeat.1 In “Tennessee Time” she talks about her vision for making art, wisecracks on her own misunderstood and perpetual lateness, and introduces the audience to her banjo, mini-ukulele and guitar, which she's winsomely nicknamed as the Mama, The Baby, and The Stranger. Even the lonesome “Somebody to Love” is punctuated by a giggle. She gives her version of Jim Reeves's southern gospel single “This World Is Not My Home (I'm Just A-Passing Through),” lending...
Valerie June, Ghost Catcher
Francesca T. Royster is author of the books Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Eccentric Acts in the Post-Soul Era (University of Michigan Press, 2013), and Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon (Palgrave MacMillan, 2003). She has written scholarly work on Shakespeare, Black Lesbian Country music fans, Prince, and Fela Kuti on Broadway, among other topics. Her creative work has appeared in the anthologies Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships and Identity and Queer Praxis, as well as in Feminist Studies, Slag Glass City, LA Review of Books, The Huffington Post, The Windy City Times, and Chicago Literati. She is currently at work on a memoir on queer family, Fierce Love: A Journey of Black Queer Motherhood, and a book project on country music performance and fandom through a black queer feminist lens. She is professor of English at DePaul University.
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Francesca T. Royster; Valerie June, Ghost Catcher. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 June 2020; 32 (2): 18–27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2020.32.2.18
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