Originally from a small town outside of Louisville, KY, Joan Osborne moved to New York to attend NYU Film School in the late '80s, but gravitated toward the vibrant downtown roots music scene, playing clubs for years. Osborne then formed an independent label, Womanly Hips, and released her debut, a live album dubbed Soul Show: Live at Delta 88 in 1991, where she showed off her roots in folk, country, blues and rock. Signing with Mercury Records, Osborne's major label bow, Relish, came out on March 21, 1995. Produced by Rick Chertoff, who released the album on his own Blue Gorilla imprint at PolyGram, Relish features such supporting performers as multi-instrumentalist Rob Hyman, bassist Mark Egan, Jeff Buckley collaborator Gary Lucas, and the Hooters' Eric Bazilian, who not only played guitar, mandolin, sax, harmonica and electric piano, but penned a song called "One of Us," which catapulted the album to #9 on the Billboard charts and eventually triple-platinum in sales. Relish earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year and nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Osborne. In addition, "One of Us" was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
The Relish 20th Anniversary Edition will be available on October 30 in three separate formats, featuring expanded liner notes written by Chris Talbott and a variety of bonus tracks. The single-CD version includes the original demo of "One of Us," with songwriter Eric Bazilian accompanying Joan on guitar; a demo version of "Pensacola" in a completely different, reggae style featuring the entire band, and the previously unreleased track, "Mighty One," from the Relish recording sessions.
The 20-track digital bundle, available in both standard and HD digital formats, includes the three bonus tracks mentioned above as well as the previously unreleased "Here Comes What's Coming," recorded at the same time as Relish and 4 live B-sides, among them a version of "One of Us," performed for WXPN's World Café plus "St. Teresa" and "Spider Web," both recorded for KSGR in Austin. Finally, there's a version of "Crazy Baby" recorded live from the Gavin Triple A Convention in Boulder, CO.
A double-LP Relish without bonus tracks will also be released at the same time.
Relish was recorded at Big Blue in Katonah, New York, with additional recording at The Crawlspace in Philadelphia and PIE Studios in Glen Cove, New York. The album included Osborne originals like "St. Teresa," "Pensacola," "Ladder" and "Crazy Baby," interspersed with covers (Bob Dylan's "Man in the Long, Black Coat," Sonny Boy Williamson's "Help Me" and, of course, Bazilian's "One of Us") and collaborations with the band on "Right Hand Man" (including Captain Beefheart), "Spider Web," "Let's Just Get Naked" and "Lumina" (the latter two with Bazilian).
But it was "One of Us" that captivated the public with its exploration of the nature of faith and people's belief in God, rising to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bazilian wrote the song to "impress a girl," who later became his wife, and originally placed the song on a solo album as a hidden track. When producer Chertoff heard it, he asked Joan if she thought she could sing it. They recorded a live demo of her performing the song, which is included on both the CD and Digital Tracks versions of this reissue. "When I got into my car and popped the cassette in," said Bazilian, "I started practicing the Grammy speech that I should've gotten to give."
Osborne, who has toured with the Dead as well as her own band for the past 20 years, has also toured with the legendary Motown sidemen, The Funk Brothers, and appeared with them in the acclaimed 2002 documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown. She hit the road for a fall tour with Mavis Staples, which started September 25 in San Francisco. A complete list of tour dates is below. A complete list of tour dates is below.
Sep 25 - San Francisco, CA - Live Nation
Sep 26 - Modesto, CA - Gallo Center for the Arts
Sep 27 - Napa, CA - Uptown Theatre
Sep 29 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Cal Poly Arts
Sep 30 - Davis, CA - Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Oct 2 - Agoura Hills, CA - The Canyon Club
Oct 3 - Cerritos, CA - Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
Oct 6 – Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum
Oct 7 - Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum
Oct 8 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
Oct 10 - The Woodlands, TX Dosey Doe Coffee House
Oct 11 - Baton Rouge, LA - Manship Theatre
Oct 24 - Clinton Township, MI - Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
Oct 26 - Binghamton, NY - Anderson Center for the Arts
Oct 27 - State College, PA - Eisenhower Auditorium (Penn State University)
Oct 28 - Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall
Oct 30 - Stony Brook, NY - Stallar Center for the Arts
Oct 31 - Washington DC, VA - George Washington University
Nov 1 - Newport News, VA - Ferguson Center for the Arts
Nov 3 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Nov 4 - New York, NY - Kaufmann Concert Hall
Nov 6 - Schenectady, NY - Arts Center & Theatre of Schenectady
Nov 7 - Boston, MA - Celebrity Series of Boston
Nov 8 - Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts
Nov 10 - Keene, NH - Colonial Theatre
Nov 11 - St. Johnsbury, VT - Lyndon Institute Auditorium (*headliner)
Nov 12 - Portsmouth, NH - Music Hall - Portsmouth
Nov 14 - Englewood, NJ - Bergen Performing Arts Center
Nov 15 - Richmond, VA - University of Richmond
Nov 18 - Atlanta, GA - Georgia Institute of Technology
Nov 19 - Oxford, AL - Oxford Performing Arts Center
Nov 21 - Cutler Bay, FL - South Miami Dade Cultural Center
Nov 22 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall