Valerie June taps Carla Thomas for song to honor Stax legacy + Mavis Staples' 85th bday

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Monday, July 1, 2024

Today, visionary singer-songwriter Valerie June has shared a shimmering pop-soul gem, “Friendship” (Feat. Carla Thomas and Stax Music Academy). The song, which originally appeared on Pop Staples’ posthumas LP, 2015’ Don’t Lose This (produced by Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples), celebrates unconditional love, the eternal promise of true friendship. For this new version, in celebration of her hero Mavis Staples’ upcoming 85th birthday, June enlisted another close friend and mentor, Stax soul legend Carla Thomas as well as the talented students at Stax Music Academy. Listen to “Friendship” (Feat. Carla Thomas and Stax Music Academy) HERE, watch HERE.

Valerie June on “Friendship” (Feat. Carla Thomas and Stax Music Academy):

“Without Mavis and Carla, the students would not have the Stax Music Academy or the rich legacy they’ve paved for the community to thrive through educating the next generation of musicians. To have a dear friend like Carla sing it in celebration of another queen—Mavis—is a full circle gift.”

Produced by June and recorded at Stax Music Academy in Memphis, TN, “Friendship” (Feat. Carla Thomas and Stax Music Academy) closely follows the release of “High Note” (Feat. Stax Music Academy), a song that she wrote specifically for Mavis, shared just last week. It also marks the second time June and Thomas have worked together. The pioneering soul star appeared on the Grammy-nominated "Call Me A Fool," a track from June’s celebrated 2022 LP, The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers.

Founded in 2000, Stax Music Academy was established to further the legacy of Stax by nurturing the next generation of great Soul Communicators from the greater Soulsville region. An after-school and summer music institute located adjacent to the Stax’s original home in Memphis, TN, (now the Stax Museum of American Soul Music), Stax Music Academy prepares students to excel and impact the world through the universal language of music.

June’s busy 2024 continued throughout the summer with a number of high profile appearances, including a series of sold-out shows supporting Tyler Childers which began June 2 at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, VA, and also hit the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa FL, and the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA. In addition, June supported Trevor Hall at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre earlier this month. For more ticket info, visit: Find the full tour itinerary below.

June’s most recent full-length album, the sweeping and ambitious The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, resonates with earthy R&B production and a touch of psychedelia amidst its astral folk-pop orchestration. Produced by June and Jack Splash, the album garnered near universal acclaim. Uncut called it, “a psychedelic tour de force” that is “powerfully, elegantly subversive,” and Rolling Stone proclaimed the LP, “career making.” At the center is June’s spellbinding vocals and infectious sense of wonder that finds the Brooklyn-via-Memphis artist narrating the often-precarious journey to joyful possibility.

The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers follows June’s 2013 breakthrough, Pushin’ Against A Stone, the widely adored The Order of Time—a 2017 record that earned the admiration of Bob Dylan and landed on numerous year-end ‘best of’ lists, and Under Cover, her 2022 covers EP which features brilliant interpretations of songs by Frank Ocean, John Lennon, Nick Cave, Gillian Welch, Bob Dylan, Joe South, Nick Drake and Mazzy Star. June’s version of Mazzy Star’s "Fade Into You," has amassed over 3 million views on YouTube. Additionally, in late 2023, she shared a transcendent cover of Duran Duran’s early 90’s classic "Ordinary World," a track that began as the musical bed for Tractor Beverage Company’s ad campaign, titled “Escape The Ordinary.” (The widely seen TV commercial has now been viewed more than a million times on YouTube and 73 million+ times across all platforms, watch it HERE.)


AUG 10 - Saugerties, NY - Opus 40

AUG 15 – East Hampton, NY – Guild Hall

AUG 20 – Sacramento, CA – Sofia Theater

AUG 21 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

AUG 22 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

AUG 23 – Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Memorial Library

AUG 25 – Chicago, IL – Old Town School of Folk Music-Fretboard Journal Summit

SEP 07 – Naples, NY – Hollerhorn Distilling

NOV 08 – Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley

NOV 09 – Germantown, TN – Germantown Performing Arts Center