Joan Osborne's talents have made her a sought-after collaborator and guest performer. She joined forces with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead when they regrouped to tour in 2003 as The Dead, sang with Motown's legendary Funk Brothers in the acclaimed 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and produced two albums for the great blues trio the Holmes Brothers. She's shared stages with a wide range of performers, including Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Melissa Etheridge, Taj Mahal, Luciano Pavarotti and the Chieftains. More recently, Osborne has toured and recorded as a member of Trigger Hippy, which also includes rising Americana star Jackie Greene and Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman.
Joan Osborne isn’t exactly glamorous, just damn good. She’s a shoot-from-the-hip vocalist with a rich well of emotion to draw from. There’s a reason she’s having such a great career: her voice is rich and her interpretations of songs are honest and moving.
At the Café Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street, in Manhattan, where she performs the Songs of Bob Dylan (March 8-18, 2016) she is turning her talents to a program, enchanting the generally conservative audience with Dylan’s incredible range. She was immeasurably helped by Keith Cotton on keyboards and Jack Petruzzelli on guitar. Both also served as back-up vocalists, pushing and pulling her along with humor and great musicianship.
Most people have difficulty imagining Bob Dylan as anything but the down-and-out troubadour singing for his supper in Greenwich Village nightspots in the early Sixties. He is, in fact, an incredibly prolific, sophisticated writer and Ms. Osborne slid easily from his country/western tinged ballads (“Tonight I’ll be Staying Here with You”) to his scathing, but clear-eyed philosophy of the world (“Gotta Serve Somebody”) to his tender love songs (“Forever Young”) and on to his Christian evangelical period (“Saved”).
Mr. Petruzzelli’s long guitar solo took “Love Sick” to an almost meditative height while Mr. Cotton’s organ-like solo on the solemn “Make You Feel My Love” helped Ms. Osborne find just the right colors for what was actually a sweet love song.
It was hard to keep from some good-natured foot stomping during the country tune, “Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood).” She persuaded this staid audience to happily sing along on “Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)” and sway with the easygoing, bluesy “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” This was a rewarding evening that brought together topnotch singing and musicianship performing the works of a major, influential creative artist who changed the world as he commented on it.
Joan sings a beautiful version of a modern Dylan ballad during fantastic acoustic show in Chicago 9.16.12
Man In The Long Black Coat (also on: Doin' Dylan 2)
Steal This Movie
My Back Pages duet with Jackson Browne
Make You Feel My Love