august music review
To some people, Kentuckian Joan Osborne is a one-hit wonder. She had a major pop/rock mainstream hit in 1995 with “One of Us” and then seemed to slip away. She did slip away from the mainstream, but she’s had a steady and impressive 17 years in alternative music circles.
Osborne’s latest release, Bring It on Home, shows off her prowess as a master of blue-eyed soul. She can sing and shout with the best of them and her song selection shows her ability to make a joyful noise as she lets off some steam. The album is a collection of old blues, rhythm and blues, and soul songs. Her remake of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips” is as close to a conventional hit as you’ll find on this album. The song has plenty of sexy sass as Osborne gives advice on how to relax and let loose a little. The song has gotten fairly extensive radio play on public radio and alternative-rock stations.
Osborne has some impressive comrades in the music business. New Orleans piano legend Allen Toussaint plays the piano in Osborne’s cover of his song “Shoorah! Shoorah!” and the Holmes Brothers provide background vocals. Osborne isn’t afraid to stand up and play next to her heroes or remake classic blues tunes, and she has a gravelly intensity to her voice that carries her through. This Anchorage native may have been born in the suburbs, but she has an authentic voice that honors some of her favorite musicians.