Valerie June Shares Pop-Soul Gem “Friendship,” featuring Carla Thomas and Stax Music Academy

Valerie June and Carla Thomas had so much fun collaborating on “Call Me a Fool,” the Grammy-nominated song from June’s 2022 album The Moon and the Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, that they’ve joined forces again. Now June and Thomas, along with students from the Stax Music Academy, unite on a glittering, heart-rending version of the late Pops Staples’ gem about unconditional love, “Friendship.” Although the song wasn’t released in Staples’ lifetime, his daughter Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy included it on the 2015 album they produced, Don’t
Lose This.

On “Friendship,” June and Thomas convey the give and take of enduring friendship in their ringing call and response vocals on the refrain: “We got friendship/the kind that lasts a lifetime/through all our hardships/you know you was a friend of mine.” Riding along layers of crunchy rhythm guitars and snaking leads and the ethereal harmonies of the Stax students, June’s version opens slowly and spirals to emotional heights, evoking the poignant nature of friendship.

June releases her version of “Friendship” today as a tribute to Mavis Staples and in celebration of Staples’ upcoming 85th birthday on July 10. It follows her earlier single, also dedicated to Mavis, “High Note,” which she also recorded with students from the Stax Music Academy.

In her reflections on the song in her announcement, June writes: “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.”

Listen to “Friendship” HERE

Upcoming Tour:

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

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