Thursday, 25 September 2014 11:58

Joan Osborne Tackles Love's Messy Aspects

Written by  Dwayne Hoover
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Joan Osborne
Wealthy Theatre, Grand Rapids
Oct. 16, 8 p.m.
$30 advance, $40 day of show, $25 CMC Member, (616) 459-4788

Most of us came to know Joan Osborne with her 1995 Grammy-nominated hit single, "One of Us." Since then, the singer-songwriter has enjoyed continued success with multiple studio albums exploring a variety of genres, from the 2006 country album Pretty Little Stranger to the more bluesy offerings on her 2012 record Bring It On Home.

The inception of Osborne's latest album, Love and Hate, actually began many years ago, even before the release of two of her other records. Initially, she had a specific vision for the direction of the album, but as she continued to write and the project evolved, she noticed an emerging theme. 

"I think when you're writing stuff your subconscious steers you toward where you want it to go," Osborne said. "It sort of becomes apparent after a while. It just seemed the lyrics I was writing were about romantic love. It really was a good move because it gave me a structure for the record that I didn't have before."

But this isn't a mix of traditional songs about falling in love and breaking up. On Love and Hate, Osborne dives into the complex, messy aspects.

"I do think that those moments [of] either ending or beginning something, they're so exciting in a certain way that that's what people are drawn to," Osborne said. "It's more difficult to get to the more ambivalent or complicated feelings. ... It's just much more complicated terrain."

The music itself deviates from the blues-rock sound she's probably best known for, and was put together with the help of a collection of notable musicians, including Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess.

"That's one of the great things about having done this for so long, that I've become acquainted with so many talented people over the years," Osborne said. "It's fun to bring your pals into the studio when you're working on something like this."

Now, not only is she on tour in support of her new album, she's also touring separately as a member of the band Trigger Hippy, and trying to manage all of that with being a mom.

"I have to be around for my daughter as much as I can," Osborne said. "That's the toughest part of being on the road is being separated from her. That's the balancing act. It's the same with any working mom."

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