Joan Osborne – Not Playing it Safe

Joan Osborne – One of Us – Relish

When I first heard this song “One of Us” by  Joan Osborne, I have to say, to me it’s OK. But, the rest of the album “Relish” had some really amazing songs! Releasing in 1995, “it’s” hard to believe that this album is celebrating a 25th Anniversary already.  Where in the hell did the time go? What I really like about Joan Osborne is that she’s quite the rebel when it comes to creating music on her terms. By this, I mean that she doesn’t allow herself to be boxed into any particular category.  I eventually embraced the song and what the song hints at is looking at things from a different point of view. Which is what I did, eventually. It’s also interesting that her songs take on some hard subjects for most.

But like most singers and songwriters, she stays true to subjects that mean something to her. St.Teresa for example, is a song about a woman’s struggle to survive while being a prostitute with a child, doing what she can to survive and keep her wits about her. Not really something we want to hear about, but it is something that does happen in world. She didn’t write it but her interpretation of it had a lot of religions up in arms about it. As a whole, this album really does give us something to talk about! The other stand out tracks are “Ladder”, “Spider Web”, and “Right-Hand Man”, a nod to Captain Beefheart. While some call it crazy that’s she doing things her way, others think she’s extremely courageous!

Creative Control & Womanly Hips

4 years before the release of “One Of Us” Joan Osborne formed her own record label Womanly Hips. She wanted to have creative and professional control over her career. So, she creates the label “Womanly Hits” which is still going to this day. Besides, it was the 90s, a lot of females were taking over the reins of their music careers at the time. Osborne has been carefully maintaining the momentum of her career from her basement studio. She’s also highly in-demand to do collaborations such as performing with Stevie Wonder, Taj Mahal, Mavis Staples, Pavarotti, Emmy Lou Harris and Bob Dylan. She even records a whole album of Dylan covers, a songwriter who has always been a source for inspiration for her. 

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

This documentary mixes performances, interviews and reenactments to celebrate the Funk Brothers, the 1960s soul hit makers. And the music behind the machine of many Motowns biggest hits. Joan performs with the Funk Brothers off and on throughout the documentary. I think at the time this helped to boost her career. Although, she’s well-known in the music industry.

Joan Performing With The Grateful Dead

The music of the Grateful Dead resonates strongly with Joan, after Jerry Garcia passed. Joan steps up and joins veteran San Francisco jam-rockers “The Dead” as a vocalist in 2003. During 2005 and 2006. While she’s not Jerry Garcia, she does justice  to celebrate his spirit and legacy while performing with them. Joan also performed many shows with founding Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh and Friends as “The Other Ones”.  Check out her performance of  “Sugaree”

Trouble And Strife

Not someone who can sit still for very long when it comes to her music, Joan’s newest album, “Trouble and Strife” is releasing on September 18, 2020. A few tracks are already released on different streaming avenues. Furthermore, it is her first album of original material in six years. Osborne self-produced the new collection and penned all ten songs, with two co-writes. The album opens with the inspiring “Take It Anyway That I Can Get”, a soulful calling to brazenly live life to the fullest. Other tracks to check out are “Hands Off” which deals with unchecked corruption happening before our eyes.  She tackles socio-political issues while other tracks reflects optimism and finding solace in a chaotic world. 

While on “That Was A Lie” Osborne takes on the acceptance of misinformation and how it has been weaponized and normalized. Driven by an infectious 1970s synth riff, “Never Get Tired (Of Loving You)” features a heartfelt message of reassurance for her teenage daughter during unstable times. Osborne offers a comforting song of hope on the beautiful lullaby,”Whole Wide World” as she sings, “We could see the whole wide world from here, Looking past the sorrow and the tears, Let me take you to that better place, Let me put that smile back on your face.”  

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