Review: Joan Osborne digs in her archives on “Radio Waves”

“Radio Waves”, Joan Osborne (Womanly Hips Records), tied home during the pandemic, Joan Osborne began combing dusty shoe boxes in her …

“Radio Waves”, Joan Osborne (Womanly Hips Records)

During the pandemic, Joan Osborne, tied up at home, began combing dusty shoe boxes in her closets, and what she found still remains fashionable because good music never goes out of style.

The boxes contained recordings of at least 100 in Osborne’s studio radio appearances since the 1990s, and she chose some of the best for “Radio Waves,” a stellar collection of 13 tunes distinguished by their diversity.

Osborne has always been an astute translator, and her soulful smoky viola is a compelling instrument when she sings blues (“Shake Your Hips”), R&B (“Everybody Is a Star”), Dylan (“Make You Feel My Love”). ) or the Great American Songbook (“Dream a Little Dream”).

With instrumental accompaniment ranging from acoustic guitar to full rock band, Osborne is creative in transforming familiar tunes. In the Motown “How Sweet It Is” standard, it extracts sugar by remaking both the rhythm and the melody, and the result is something more sensual. An abridged version of her unlikely hit “One of Us” more directly conveys the miracle of grace in the usual place, while Gary Wright’s 1970s hit “My Love Is Alive” becomes incredibly funky.

Osborne feels the mood suitable for every change of broadcast, from sunrise to discharge, and seems to know it.

“Good morning or evening, friends. Here’s your friendly announcer, ”she sings to begin Stevie Wonder’s song“ Love’s in Need of Love Today, ”a tune with a message that should be conveyed 24 hours a day.

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