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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 17
Osborne gets bluesy at Jazz Alley
Arts & Entertainment
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Osborne gets bluesy at Jazz Alley

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

JOAN OSBORNE WITH THE HOLMES BROTHERS
DIMITRIOU'S JAZZ ALLEY
April 20


Though it was a bit more toned-down than I anticipated, Joan Osborne's performance last weekend at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley still had enough spark to light up the room, which was filled to capacity.

The second of two sets on Saturday night began with backup band The Holmes Brothers playing for about 20 minutes before Osborne jumped on stage and shook things up. She performed a few songs with the trio, including the title track from their 2010 album Feed My Soul, which she produced, and a gentle version of Kris Kristofferson's 'Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends.' The Holmeses then left the stage, leaving Osborne and pianist/keyboardist Keith Cotton to take over on their own.

Almost 10 years ago, the New York native toured with The Dead, a group comprising several surviving members of The Grateful Dead, and during this time she had to learn a vast amount of songs from their catalog. One of Osborne's absolute favorites, 'Brokedown Palace,' was never used on that tour, but that didn't stop her from recording it (on 2006's Pretty Little Stranger album) and playing a smooth cover of it at Jazz Alley.

An acoustic, dramatic rendition of 'St. Teresa' with Osbourne strumming and tapping beautifully on guitar left me speechless. 'Spider Web' was all-out funky with Cotton providing churchy organ backgrounds and The Holmes Brothers returning to lend their vocals, as Osborne danced and shook her hips.

I wasn't thrilled with 'One of Us,' the hit single that thrusted Osborne into the spotlight in the mid-'90s. It sounded too delicate on Saturday night, performed as a hushed ballad. I prefer the style of the original, an edgy pop-rock tune. I also thought Wendell Holmes' supporting vocals in the chorus were unneeded - I imagine it sounding better with Osborne doing it solo.

Just one song was offered for an encore, a bluesy interpretation of Ben Harper's 'There Will Be a Light,' which featured Holmes Brothers drummer Popsy Dixon almost comically speaking the words 'there will be' near the end.

Osborne earned a recent Grammy nomination for 2012's Bring It On Home. Her four-night appearance last weekend in Seattle marked her Jazz Alley debut.

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