New Life for the Dead
What if Joan Was One of Us?
“Oh my god, I’ve got so many songs to learn in the next few weeks!” Osborne says with a laugh from Indianapolis, where she was on tour with her group opening for the Dixie Chicks. “They sent me this really big pile of lyrics and CDs. Wait…I’ll get this list.” She returns a moment later and starts reading: “Let’s see…‘Black Peter,’ ‘Built to Last,’ ‘Casey Jones,’ ‘Crazy Fingers,’ ‘Dupree Diamond Blues,’ ‘Foolish Heart,’ ‘Just a Little Light,’ ‘Me and Bobby McGee,’ ‘Comes a Time’…just lots and lots of great songs, some of which I’ve heard, but a lot of them are new to me. Oh good—‘Ripple’ is on here. I love that song! And I think the one I love the most right now is ‘Attics of My life.’ That is such a gorgeous song.”
Though she wasn’t a Deadhead herself growing up, Osborne was exposed to and enjoyed certain parts of the Dead canon—notably Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty —and she’s been around Deadheads much of her life; in fact, her sister even followed the band for a while, “and I always understood why people loved them,” she says. “Plus I sort of have an affinity for that world because some of the clubs I came up in [as a performer] in New York City were places like the Wetlands, where there were tons of Deadheads and all those jambands that came out of there—Dave Matthews, Gov’t Mule, Blues Traveler and so on. So I came out of that scene a little and it was always a world I was kind of familiar with. I never considered what I did to be a part of the jamband thing, but I always appreciated it and I could tell it was a great community of people who were really into that music.”
Osborne also shared some of the same musical roots as the Grateful Dead—blues, R&B, soul and folk. Her career arc was explosive: her major label debut album, 1995’s Relish was a multi-Platinum hit, thanks in large part to the popularity of producer Eric Bazilian’s folk-y tune “One of Us,” which posted the intriguing notion that perhaps God could be just another slob on the crosstown bus. She landed on the cover of Rolling Stone and toured successfully behind the album for many months. Alas, she was unable to really capitalize on the success of that first outing. It was several years before she put together a follow up—the brilliant but under-appreciated Righteous Love —and she’s had to work hard to keep her music in the public eye.
She admits to a little nervousness about walking into The Dead’s world, but her experience playing with the group at the Warfield was entirely positive: “The guys were really welcoming to me and seemed to have every confidence in me, which was great to feel. They were saying, ‘Yeah, just do what you feel. Have fun up there!” They’ve worked with a lot of great people and everyone I know who’s worked with them had a great experience, so I figured if there was ever a time to just relax and let it flow, this was the time to do it. Once I got up there and was dancing around a listening, it wasn’t too difficult. I had a great time!”
As for the upcoming tour, “I hope the fans will accept me,” she says. “I feel like I’m on the spot in a way to satisfy people who are used to Jerry Garcia. Well, I’m certainly not him but I’ll do what I do and hopefully it’ll work out.”
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
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