On Songs of Bob Dylan, Joan Osborne unleashes her sizable gifts as a vocalist and interpreter upon The Bard’s celebrated canon. With performances honed by the time Osborne spent polishing them during “Joan Osborne Sings The Songs Of Bob Dylan” — two critically acclaimed two-week residencies she performed at New York City’s Café Carlyle in March 2016 and 2017, the seven-time Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling singer and songwriter, whom The New York Times has called “a fiercely intelligent, no-nonsense singer,” winds her supple, soulful voice around Dylan’s poetic, evocative lyrics, etching gleaming new facets in them along the way.
Unconstrained by any notion of trying to imitate or surpass Dylan, Osborne felt free to play with the songs’ arrangements, a process that was also enabled by the virtuosity and versatility of Osborne’s collaborators, guitarist Jack Petruzzelli (Patti Smith, The Fab Faux) and keyboardist Keith Cotton (Idina Menzel, Chris Cornell), who performed with her at Café Carlyle, and with whom she co-produced the album. “They bring this wealth of skills to the table,” she says. “Any crazy idea we came up with, they could do. So it was wonderful to have that level of musicianship at my fingertips.” Half the songs were recorded with the trio and the other half feature a full band.