Joan Osborne – Songs of Bob Dylan (Album Review)

Seven-Time Grammy Nominee, Singer-Songwriter Joan Osborne returned with her ninth studio album, Songs of Bob Dylan, on September 1, 2017.

A follow-up to Osborne’s 2014 album Love and Hate, the Kentucky native made her major label debut with 1995’s Relish, which included the hit single “One of Us.” Over the years she has performed on the world’s top stages, including a 2001 performance on Austin City Limits and a 2007 performance on the Grand Ole Opry.

No stranger to collaborations, she has performed several times with the surviving members of The Grateful Dead, and in 2003, Osborne had the opportunity to sing with Mr. Bob Dylan himself who was co-headlining with The Dead.

The story goes, Osborne paid dues early in her career by performing original tunes at New York City downtown Rock clubs. It was around this time that she began to rediscover the genius of American Poet/Songwriter Bob Dylan. Paving the way for her newest creation, Songs of Bob Dylan, it comes after the critically acclaimed performance Joan Osborne Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan which took place at New York City’s Café Carlyle in March 2016 and 2017. Performing with Osborne at Café Carlyle, Guitarist Jack Petruzzelli (Patti Smith, The Fab Faux) and Keyboardist Keith Cotton (Idina Menzel, Chris Cornell) also co-produced Songs of Bob Dylan.

Songs of Bob Dylan immediately showcases Osborne’s free spirit in covering these classic Dylan tracks. No better example on this release is the opening track, “Tangled Up In Blue,” a light, carefree tribute to Dylan’s 1975 hit. Listening, one cannot help but enjoy the sunny feeling Osborne brings to life with this cover. Then on “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35,” Osborne delivers a slow, jazzy performance which is highly pleasing to the ear.

Moving on, ballads such as, “Buckets of Rain”, Tryin’ to Get To Heaven,” and “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” are beautifully covered. It is here Osborne really gives the listener a tender journey through Dylan’s touching lyrics. In addition, these covers also show the simplest but sweetest tones in Osborne’s voice and how well she can interpret a well-written song.

Furthermore, “Highway 61 Revisited” changes up the tempo of the album with its rough and tumble Country feel. Osborne shines here, showing she can go from one style to another without even trying. Bringing the same vibe to the table, she then covers “Masters of War” before “Spanish Harlem Incident” with another feel good cover. Where Dylan’s version features simple vocals and folky guitar, Osborne brings the Blues out of this track so well. The full band, featuring some cool piano, make for an amazing rendition of the cut. Thirteen songs in total, other classics covered here by Osborne include“Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn),” “Dark Eyes,” “High Water (For Charley Patton),” “Ring Them Bells,” and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

Joan Osborne really has something special going on with Songs of Bob Dylan. Not just another cover album, she brings the great work of Bob Dylan to another level. An exceptional musician herself, Osborne truly took the time to find a new way for listeners to appreciate one of music’s most legendary in Bob Dylan. For its brilliance, CrypticRock gives Songs of Bob Dylan 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tour Dates:
Sept. 22 Indianapolis, IN Howard L Schrott Center for the Arts
Sept. 23 Pittsburgh, PA Byham Theater
Oct. 13 York, PA Strand Capitol Theatre
Oct. 14 Toms River, NJ Grunin Center For The Arts
Oct. 19 Austin, TX One World Theatre
Oct. 20 San Antonio, TX Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Oct. 21 Houston, TX The Heights Theater
Oct. 22 Dallas, TX The Kessler Theater
Oct. 25 Redding, CA Cascade Theatre
Oct. 27 Livermore, CA Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
Nov. 2 Fairfield, CT StageOne
Nov. 3 Cambridge, MA Sanders Theatre
*All dates and venues subject to change

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