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Joan Osborne - Pretty Little Stranger
Review By Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

I'm not familiar with this gal, but Joan Osborne, in my humble opinion, has come out with the best country record this year. Award winning producer Steve Buckingham, with the help of Lesli Holingstad, produced this gem. There is not a bad track on this disc and Osborne wrote six of the twelve.

The sound is more like seventies country rock reminiscent of early Emmy Lou Harris. The best musicians shine on this warm recording, recorded at the Omni and Doghouse in Nashville. Some of the musicians include Eddie Bayers/drums, Michael Rhodes/bass, Steve Gibson/acoustic and electric guitar, Bryan Sutton/acoustic guitar, John Hobbs/B3 organ, Paul Franklin/steel, and Steve Buckingham/electric guitar. Some special backup singers are Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Rodney Crowell. Sonny Landreth plays some killer slide on one track.

Joan said she calls this her country record and wanted to get back to bare bones and this is the perfect vehicle, it really is the best set of songs that I have heard done in a country format in quite a while.

Joan toured with the Grateful Dead in 2004 and some of the tracks remind me of some Dead country songs, excellent guitar work by Steve Gibson. This is the way to start out with a new label, make a killer record.

"Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" (Kristofferson) - Plain incredible, a mid tempo country rocker, Osborne hast perfect voice for country music without the accent. Her vocals are stellar. Great pedal steel and guitar here, nice piano too.

"Who Divided" (Osborne) - This upbeat country rocker is penciled in to be the first single. Great drums by Bayers and also nice guitar and keyboards. Great lyrics with very nice melody. This song really moves well. This record is full of old time pedal steel that you don't hear too much in Nashville anymore.

"Dead Roses"- Another up-tempo, bluesy, country rocker has a funky beat and guitar riffs. Nice organ too. Sonny Landreth tears it up on a slide guitar break sounding like Duane Allman. This guy really jams it out at the end, tremendous.

"After Jane" (Osborne) - Another upbeat country rocker , real nice lyrics and melody, great hooks, vocals are great. This song is a real interesting production, Sutton playing a bouzouki, an interesting stringed instrument that adds a middle eastern touch. Franklin plays some real interesting steel. The drums sound very Dead influenced. This is a masterpiece.

Osborne really sings with emotion and soul. Her strong vocals make for a real inspiring performance. The rhythm section of Bayers on drums and Rhodes on bass is about as good as it gets in Nashville, but you see another side of them here as they rock it out a bit more. The drums being very in front in the mix like a rock record.

"Brokedown Palace" (Garcia, Hunter) - Osborne does a stunningly beautiful version of this Grateful Dead Classic. A short guitar solo by Gibson is awesome, sounding a lot like Vince Gill. 

Well, I left a lot out, but the other tracks are just as good. This has been a pretty good year for music, but after hearing this, I was blown away, like a sound I was longing for. If you are a country rocker or Americana fan, this is a must have.

Imprint - Vanguard
Release Date - 11/14/06


Click on the CD cover to order yours!

1. Pretty Little Stranger
2. Holy Waters 
3. Brokedown Palace 
4. What You Are 
5. Shake The Devil 
6. Time Won't Tell 
7. Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends 
8. Who Divided 
9. Til I Get It Right 
10. Dead Roses 
11. After Jane 
12. When The Blue Hour Comes

Related Links:  
Official Website  
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I m ANGOLAN , I don't speak English but I like this album so much.
~ Olivio

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