Songs Of Bob Dylan
Joan Osborne couldn’t have set herself a harder task when she decided to put out an album of Bob Dylan covers. It’s not that she isn’t up to the task – it’s just that a gargantuan figure like Dylan casts a long shadow and unfortunately, Osborne gets caught in the cusp of comparison and then falls just shy of the source. Though her country-blues with a touch of soul gives the Dylan classics a carefree, yet reassuring tone you’d find in a dusty bar along the road to nowhere, her vocal style doesn’t reach the dramatic heights of her hero. It’s not that she can’t sing, either, but her powerful delivery is too strong to bring out the air of vulnerability that gives Dylan his raw edge. And though some tracks like “Rainy Day Woman #12 & #35” follow a new musical path under her hand, she doesn’t dig into stylistic shifts as often as she could. Every unique take is followed by something a little more straight-up and risk free. These aren’t so much fresh interpretations as they are engaging tributes, but they’re still a pleasant listen nonetheless.