Review: Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne Photo Credit David Andrako 2016_03_08_CafeCarlyle_08

Very smart: Folk rock singer/songwriter Joan Osborne, for her Cafe Carlyle debut, has chosen to do a show devoted exclusively to one of the greatest songwriters associated with New York, Bob Dylan. When Carlyle “debutantes” put that much thought into their act, and do some kind of tribute to the classic “New York-ness” of the venue, the results are usually stellar – and Osborne easily hits that mark.

Osborne is a Dylan interpreter of long standing. She first came to the public’s attention with her hit 1995 album Relish, which included a Dylan cover, “Man in the Long Black Coat”. In fact, she’s much like Carlyle regular Judy Collins – a female folksinger with a beautiful voice, and a sly, canny way as an interpreter of complex songs.

Osborne covers the full range of Dylan’s songwriting, from the goofy sing-along “The Mighty Quinn” to the surreal and dense “Highway 61 Revisited” to the straight-ahead gospel from his born-again days, “Saved”. Osborne’s affection and respect for Dylan’s craft comes across in her attention to detail – and Dylan wrote some of the most detailed, intricate song lyrics of all time.

The musicianship of Osborne’s backup – Keith Cotton (keyboards) and Jack Petruzzelli (guitar) – is impeccable. Between the two of them, they frequent produce the impression of a much larger band. This act’s major strength is great songwriting delivered with great understanding, skill and emotion. Highly recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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