Singer/songwriter Joan Osborne is back with Trouble and Strife (Womanly Hips Records), her first album of original material in six years. Osborne self-produced the new collection and penned all ten songs, with two co-writes. Trouble and Strife finds the gifted vocalist offering a strong yet uplifting response to some of the socio-political issues plaguing our nation over the last several years. Osborne beautifully balances the weight of her messages with solace and optimism. The new track ”Boy Dontcha Know” touches on the challenges of being a female in our society and why one might prefer to be male- listen below..
The album opens with the inspiring “Take It Anyway That I Can Get”, a soulful calling to brazenly live life to the fullest. “Hand’s Off” is a visceral reaction to the unchecked corruption that is happening before our eyes, while on “That Was A Lie” Osborne takes on the acceptance of misinformation and how it has been weaponized and normalized. Driven by an infectious 1970’s synth riff, “Never Get Tired (Of Loving You)” features a heartfelt message of reassurance for her teenaged daughter during unstable times. Osborne offers a comforting song of hope on the beautiful lullaby, ”Whole Wide World” as she sings, “We could see the whole wide world from here, Lookin’ past the sorrow and the tears, Let me take you to that better place, Let me put that smile back on your face.”
On one of the album’s most important songs, “What’s That You Say” Osborne focuses on immigration and the plight of Ana Marie Rea. Rea spoke in-depth with Osborne about the difficulties she and her family faced when coming to America from Mexico seeking asylum, and the challenges since. Rea’s words can be heard throughout the powerful song, spoken in her native tongue.
Throughout her 25-year, multi-Grammy nominated career, Joan Osborne has never been an artist confined to one space. She has utilized her incredible voice through her own songs while also becoming one of her generation’s finest interpreters. Osborne has shared the stage with artists ranging from Stevie Wonder and Mavis Staples to Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams and she continues to seamlessly blend into any genre. On Trouble and Strife, her tenth studio album, the need for her voice and words has never been stronger.
Photo by Jeff Fasano