Joan Osborne will come to Headliners on Saturday, April 14 for a show promoting her new CD, Bring It On Home. I had a chance to ask her a few questions about the CD and show:
LMN: Tell us about your new album of blues covers.
Osborne: It’s called Bring It On Home and it’s an album of soul, blues and R&B songs. The title of the album refers not only to the title of one of the songs but also refers to the fact that blues and soul is kind of a music homecoming for me. When I first was learning how to sing, I tried to imitate my favorite singers in that genre, like Etta James, Tina Turner, Otis Redding and Muddy Waters. They were all my heroes when first started getting into music and so this a little bit of homecoming for me, to revisit this material after I’ve been doing this for a while and see what I can bring to these songs as an interpreter.
LMN: Looking at the songlist, not all of these songs are familiar and though they’re cover songs, [did you pick] obscure songs, so that you weren’t cutting songs that people know too well?
Osborne: Yes, I did try to cast the net pretty widely and pick some things that were not that well-known. The Muddy Waters song we do is called “I Wanna Be Loved,” one of his best ones; the Otis Redding song we do is a great tune called “Champagne And Wine.” We are also covering an artist named Olive Brown, who was a singer and drummer in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties around the San Francisco Bay area. She never made national prominence but she had a nice career during that time in the Bay area. I found a recording of hers in a compilation years ago and kind of always had it in mind as something that I’d like to do, so some of these songs will be familiar to people and others they will be discovering for the first time.
LMN: What band are you bringing to back you up for this show?
Osborne: I’m going to have the same band that I had with me in the recording studio, guys that I’ve worked with for a long time [including] a guy named Andrew Curullo on guitar; Aaron Comess on the drums; Richard Hammond on the bass; Keith Cotton on keyboards. They’re all New York City-based players and they’re all very much in demand but I’ve been working with them as a band for seven years now. I still remember the first time we were in rehearsal studio, the first time we all played together and by the end of the first song, [that] there was some real chemistry apparent there. So I was really feel so fortunate to bring them to the studio with me and also that I’m able to tour with them and play this music. It’s fun music. The shows have been really, really fun and the audiences have been up on their feet and clapping and dancing and it’s a really fun show.
LMN: You’ve been doing an awful lot of collaborating and you’ve picked up this gig with a band out of Nashville called Trigger Hippy and people here don’t know about that.
Osborne : We haven’t played Louisville yet, [as] that’s a new side project with a guy from the Black Crowes, Steve Gorman, the drummer for the Black Crowes; a guy named Jackie Green, who is a California-based singer and songwriter. He’s been working with Phil Lesh, he’s on the whole jamband scene, he’s a rising star there. Also Will Kimbrough, a Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist. We’re still kind of a baby band, that one hasn’t gotten off the ground.
LMN: So it’s completely different music that what you’re doing on this album?
Osborne : It’s rock and soul kind of thing. It’s not focusing on me, it’ more of a band project. Everybody’s writing and we’re sharing off duties.
LMN: I’m sure you’ll bring it to Louisville sometime?
Osborne: Oh, yes, I think it’ll play really well there.
LMN: Louisvillians who are not really serious fans will only remember you for “If God Was One Of Us.” Are you going to play that at the show?
Osborne: Oh, we play that most every show that we do, it’s definitely the biggest hit I’ve had and [for] a lot of people, that’s the favorite song of theirs. All of people, when they come see us, request that song. I think it’s a great song and we do it in different arrangements; it’s been a while since it was on the radio, but still play it. We play things like “What Becomes Of The Broken-Hearted,” which I sang in a movie called “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.” A lot of people know me from that film. We play songs from a lot of the records. We’ll be doing songs. We’ll be doing a lot of songs from the new record but it won’t be just the new record, we’ll be doing things from over the course of my career.
LMN: It’ll be quite an re-introduction for people who haven’t seen you in a while.
Osborne: Yeah and I’m excited to be playing my hometown. I do come back a lot and visit. I still have family in Louisville. It’s a great time and I’m excited to bring the show and play my hometown.
The complete interview is here: