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Making Classic Tunes Her Own

by Tom King

Had a chance this past Saturday to see Joan Osborne in concert at the Big Top Chatauqua in northern Wisconsin. If you only remember Osborne for her out of nowhere hit "One of Us" back in 1995 you need to seek out her more recent stuff. The singer has pursued her passion for classic r&b material...the kind she was singing while she was coming up through the blues bar circuit in New York back in the late 80's and early 90's.

She did alot of stuff from her Grammy nominated album from last year "Bring It On Home". Osborne's voice can move from a caress to a yowl and she breathes new life into chestnuts like Otis Reddings "Champagne & Wine" or "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh from the Bill Withers songbook. 

She re-visits her work with the Funk Brothers with her sparkling rendition of "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted and also does Dylan with a nice "Make You Feel My Love" And she kicks all kind of ass on Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips"..(better than Jagger IMHO)

She also did a few of her own classics like Spider Web and St Theresa while surprising us with an acoustic version of the Van Morrison classic "Tupelo Honey". And yes...she did "One Of Us"

She also did a couple of newer originals including the hypnotic "Work On Me"


Her band is top notch including Keith Collins who shines on the keys. If she comes to your neighborhood, do yourself a favor and check her out

And if  you get to the Bayfield Wisconsin area in the summer the Big Top Chatauqua has an eclectic lineup of music under the big tent at the foot of Mt Ashwabay. Plus the area (along the shores of Lake Superior) is beautiful