Valerie June Releases an Intimate, Cosmic Acoustic Version of ‘You and I’
The celestial sense of empathy that has come to characterize the music of Valerie June is on full display in her new acoustic "Moon and Stars" version of "You and I." Released on Dec. 2, the new renditions serves as an update to her 2021 release The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers.
Eschewing the original's drum machines in favor of old-timey strings, the new version of "You and I" keeps the song's lush vocal harmonizations intact. This creates a timeless feel that allows June's hopeful vocals to breathe -- providing, as the lyrics mention, "a little distance for perspective."
Over banjo and mandolin, the recent Best Americana Song Grammy nominee (for "Call Me a Fool," featuring Carla Thomas) pays tribute to a lasting connection between two people that has stayed true even as the name it goes by has changed.
"It's the thought, it's the intention," June advises over a building fiddle, expressing the importance of approaching a rebuilt relationship with forgiveness and emotional maturity. The slower pace emphasizes the deep, abiding compassion that its central figures share as she recalls that "when the love left just a friendship, that's when we found our greatest gift."
Where the original brims with excitement over the possibilities that await in this evolving dynamic, the Moon and Stars iteration of "You and I" has a softer tone overall. June still sings "I hope you feel it too" throughout the chorus, but it's clear that either her feelings are reciprocated, or she doesn't really need them to be -- as the new interpretation emphasizes, the loving-kindness of "You and I"'s response to shifting tides springs from within.
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