For most of her 20-plus-year career, the great singer Joan Osborne has been old-school – not so much in sound as in career strategy. With many notable exceptions over the course of more than a half-dozen albums, Osborne has been a bit of a throwback figure, a gifted interpreter in the age of the de rigueur singer/songwriter. Whether her style target was contemporary (as on her wildly successful debut Relish) or studied retro in the spirit of Daptone on 2012’s excellent Bring It on Home, she has typically emphasized selective collaborative writing and covers over originals.
But last year, Osborne broke from her personal form and released an album of intimate original material, co-written mostly with her longtime “right-hand man” Jack Petruzelli or with her principal collaborator of recent years, the New Paltz-born keyboard whiz Keith Cotton. Like all of her output, the conceptual song cycle Love and Hate is both earthy and sophisticated, visceral and elegant. It’s a rich and ambitious effort from a legendary vocalist who deserves to be better-known for her writing as well.
Radio Woodstock presents Joan Osborne on Friday, April 3 at the Bearsville Theater. Lauren Shea opens at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $40 to $60. For tickets and more information, visit https://radiowoodstock.com. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock.