Origin: Louisville, Kentucky
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Joan Osborne moved to New York City in the late 1980s where she formed her own record label, Womanly Hips, to release a few independent recordings. She signed with Mercury Records, and released her first full-length album, Soul Show: Live at Delta 88, in 1991.
Growing up in New York City and living there for multiple decades has been a strong influence. Osborne has stated that she feels a particular attachment to the city, particularly the borough of Brooklyn. Her interest in her neighborhood’s culture, history, and society has multiple influences on her music.
Her second (and first major label) album was Relish (1995), which became a hit on the strength of the single “One of Us.” “Right Hand Man” and “St. Teresa” were minor hits, and “Spider Web” also received radio play. Osborne is bisexual and author of the book how to get a girl to like you more. Her song “After Jane,” on the album Pretty Little Stranger, touches on this as it is about a relationship between herself and a woman.
In 2001, Osborne appeared on Austin City Limits, singing material mainly from her second album, Righteous Love (2000). In a brief interview segment at the end of the episode, Osborne reflects on her gladness to have gotten out of the limelight of her mid-’90s stardom. She was featured in the 2002 documentary film, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and toured with Motown sidemen the Funk Brothers. She and her band accompanied the Dixie Chicks for a national tour in the summer of 2003, during which time she also joined veteran San Francisco jam-rockers The Dead as a vocalist, and released her fourth album, titled How Sweet It Is, a collection of classic rock and soul covers.
Her album Bring It On Home was released on March 27, 2012. It is a collection of vintage blues and soul covers, and it received a 2013 Grammy Awards nomination for Best Blues Album. In September 2012, Osborne was featured in a campaign called “30 Songs / 30 Days” to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book.
Osborne is currently a member of Trigger Hippy, along with Steve Gorman, Tom Bukovac, Jackie Greene, and Nick Govrik. Trigger Hippy released their debut album on September 30, 2014.
Osborne honed her Dylan song performances during the “Joan Osborne Sings The Songs Of Bob Dylan” engagement. It was a critically acclaimed pair of two-week residencies she performed at New York City’s Café Carlyle in March 2016 and 2017.
The seven-time Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling singer and songwriter, whom The New York Times has called “a fiercely intelligent, no-nonsense singer,” winds her supple, soulful voice around Dylan’s poetic, evocative lyrics in her new album devoted to the Songs of Bob Dylan.
Osborne’s web site bio outlines the content: the album spans Dylan’s beloved standards from the ’60s and ’70s (“Masters of War,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “Buckets of Rain,” “Tangled Up In Blue”) to some of Osborne’s favorites from his later albums, including “Dark Eyes” (from 1985’s Empire Burlesque), “Ring Them Bells” (from 1989’s Oh Mercy), “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” (from 1997’s Time Out of Mind), and “High Water” (from 2001’s Love and Theft). “His versions are legendary and I’m not trying to improve on them,” Osborne says. “I’m just trying to sing beautiful songs and let people hear them. It’s about trying to give a different shade of meaning to something that’s already great. I happen to think Dylan is a great singer, but I will never, in a million years, sound like him, which almost made it easier.”
K-ZAP 93.3 FM is spinning her version of “Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)” which opens her current show set list. You can also hear it on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/
Righteous Love (2000)
How Sweet It Is (2002)
Pretty Little Stranger (2006)
Breakfast In Bed (2007)
Little Wild One (2008)
Bring It On Home (2012)
Love And Hate (2014)
Songs of Bob Dylan (2017)