Joan Osborne: Radio Waves
When Joan Osborne realized that not one of her 10 official albums was a live set, she decided to remedy that. Since touring was on hold due to the pandemic, she went through her archives. There, she found a trove of recordings—mostly of performances made for radio stations, as well as enough demos, rehearsals and other stray tracks to put together this formidable collection. The 13 tracks that comprise Radio Waves are a representative cross-section of Osborne’s music, with an emphasis on her expansive taste in cover material, from Dylan to Motown to classic rock and beyond. The collection begins with an original though, “St. Teresa,” the tune that opened Osborne’s debut studio release in 1995. Co-written with Eric Bazilian of The Hooters and that album’s producer Rick Chertoff, the bluesy, semi-acoustic version, recorded at radio station KCRW in ‘95, leans heavily on Jack Petruzzelli’s mandolin and Erik Della Penna’s guitar to give it a swampy, delicate feel. “Love Is Alive,” from English rocker Gary Wright, and a sweet take on “Dream a Little Dream” that is more than a little reminiscent of Mama Cass’ classic, follow, but it’s not until Osborne revs up Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is,” recorded in Germany in 2003 and accompanied solely by guitarist Andrew Carillo, that things truly get funky. A full-band “Shake Your Hips,” made famous first by bluesman Slim Harpo and later The Rolling Stones, kicks things into even higher gear. For the duration, the mix is equally eclectic: both a 2012 cover of Dave Mason’s “Only You Know REVIEWS and I Know” and the 2002 KROQ workout on Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody Is a Star” offer proof of Osborne’s onstage charisma, while “Little Wild One,” the title track of her 2008 release, demonstrates the evolution of her writing skills through the years.