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Joan Osborne - Pretty Little Stranger

Pretty Little Stranger

Joan Osborne

Vanguard 79810-2

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mike Jurkovic
(rnrcurmudgeon@yahoo.com)

Dare I say that Pretty Little Stranger, Osborne's Vanguard debut and only her fourth disc since Relish back in '95 reminds me very, very strongly and very, very, very fondly of those classic Ronstadt albums of the early and mid-70's.

And I don't mean in my usual, curmudgeonly, derivative sense. There's something in the feel, the selfless, exemplary playing, Osborne's warm, worn, wide open vocals, all the songs, especially — Kristofferson's Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends; Garcia & Hunter's Brokedown Palace; Patty Griffin's immaculately rendered What You Are; the Little Feat funk of the original Dead Roses; the Raitt-ish Who Divided, and the chiming, Ronstadt pop of the title track — that keeps you engaged long after other discs have spent their shelf life and your attention span.

Though the focus falls full and deservedly on Osborne, I'd be terribly remiss not to mention at least a few of Osborne's accomplices because, just like those classic Ronstadts, these performances are team efforts. Steve Buckingham's production is pure clarity, echoing Peter Asher. Drummer Eddie Bayers and bassist Michael Rhodes instill each song with its own space and pace, as Dan Tyminski, Dan Dugmore, Sonny Landreth, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Steve Gibson, Bryan Sutton, Vince Gill and other equally supportive players give all these songs a personality not quickly forgotten.

Track List:

  • Pretty Little Stranger
  • Holy Waters
  • Brokedown Palace
  • What You Are
  • Shake The Devil
  • Time Won' Tell
  • Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends
  • Who Divided
  • 'Til I Get It Right
  • Dead Roses
  • After Jane
  • When The Blue Hour Comes
Produced by Steve Buckingham

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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