The first time I saw Joan Osborne in concert, I couldn’t believe how great she was. Without a doubt, I immediately believed she was one of the top three or four pop voices in America.
And yet, the next time she came to Vegas, I had to beg and coerce my friends to go see her because, they said, “I’m sick of that ‘What if God was one of us’ song.”
Osborne -- playing poolside at South Point hotel Sunday -- understands people are resistant to “One of Us,” since it was overplayed to death, even if it was such a good tune, Prince covered it.
“That song and that video -- as catchy [and successful] as it was -- it did present a narrow version of what I do, and what I’m capable of,” she says.
So, she adds with a laugh, “I urge you to continue forcing all your friends and all your readers to come to the show.”
Osborne has a new album coming out in a few months. But she’s already writing songs for the album after that. Why?
“I’m sort of the poster child for the sophomore slump,” she says. “The fist big record [‘Relish’] was followed up with years of painful silence. I decided to never do that again, so I try to stay way ahead of the release schedule.”
That “painful silence” was caused partly by Osborne's “freezing up under pressure,” and partly because label executives rejected songs in the meantime because they wanted different material than she was turning in.
Since then, Osborne has changed things up. She’s gone from alt-pop to rock-and-soul, country and Grateful Dead-style jam band music. So if you see her Sunday, you may see a mix of followers of these genres.
Osborne says it’s a good thing for Dead heads especially to hear her different styles.
“Jam band fans need to get out in the world, and get out of that tight circle of bands they see,” she says.