Skip to main content
#SummerofFUV Music Guide

Valerie June: Five Essential Bob Marley Songs

Valerie June (photo by Jacob Blickenstaff, PR)

Valerie June (photo by Jacob Blickenstaff, PR)

by

On Valerie June's second album, 2017's The Order Of Time, the Tennessee-born songwriter expounds on the spiritual ("Astral Plane"), familial roots ("Long Lonely Road"), and the vagaries of love ("Just in Time," "The Front Door"). Her lyrics reflect a storyteller's rich sensitivity, colored with innate compassion and a keen social awareness, and they reveal not only her own journey, but the early impact of the musicians she loved as a child, like our FUV Essentials artist, Bob Marley.

Although June's own songs skew more towards roots, blues, country, and jazz, her reverence for Marley's enduring reggae songs, and his humanity, is indelible. FUV reached out to June, currently touring North America (she played New York's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture last night, February 5), for her "Five Essential Bob Marley Songs" on the occasion of what would have been the Jamaican legend's 73rd birthday.

Valerie June: Five Essential Bob Marley Songs

"Three Little Birds," Exodus (1977)
Gentleness. This song is a mantra for when my mind gets to bumblebee busy! It’s always great when a song can remind you to return to a place of gentleness in your day.

"No Woman, No Cry," Natty Dread (1974) and Live! (1975)
Friendship. It is to hold on to every moment of beauty you have with those you love. Even just the simple evenings when you find yourself warm, well fed, at home, and in good company. I love that this song invites the listener to be present. There is no need to cry for the moments that have passed, or the people that you’ve lost, because you enjoyed every second of the time you shared together.

"Chances Are," Chances Are (1981)
Hope. I love the backing bass vocal on this song. It sounds like the voice of God. As a message, things will come, things will go, but just hang on! There is a bright future ahead.

"One Love/People Get Ready," Exodus (1977)
Love. This is such a sing-along song! My favorite line is when he says, “I’m pleading to mankind." This is a song that celebrates humanity as one race with one heart.

"High Tide or Low Tide," Catch a Fire (Jamaican version), 1973
Prayer. I love the spirituality in Bob’s lyrics. What a sweet prayer for a mother to say her child: "I’ll be by your side." I’ve been sitting with the idea of ancestors and how we carry the seeds of their dreams and hopes. Maybe even their prayers as well.

- Valerie June
February 2018

Read all of FUV's Five Essential Songs and Albums.

WATCH