Joan Osborne in concert July 8 in Boothbay Harbor

Posted:  Monday, June 26, 2017 - 7:30am
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Joan Osborne has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the great voices of her generation — both a commanding, passionate performer and a frank, emotionally evocative songwriter. A multi-platinum selling recording artist and seven-time Grammy nominee, the soulful vocalist is a highly sought-after collaborator and guest performer who has performed alongside many notable artists, including Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Luciano Pavarotti, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, and Mavis Staples, to name a few. On Saturday, July 8, Joan Osborne performs at the Opera House in Boothbay Harbor.

Counting such legendary artists as Etta James and Ray Charles as influences, Osborne has released several acclaimed albums and continues to tour extensively in various configurations — with her own band, as Joan Osborne's Soul Revue, and as an acoustic duo and trio. In 2003, Osborne joined forces with the surviving members of The Grateful Dead when they regrouped to tour as The Dead. In addition to her own solo shows and frequent guest appearances, Osborne currently also tours as a member of the rock/soul supergroup Trigger Hippy, founded by Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and built from each musician's shared love of R&B and soul.

Osborne has showcased her far-ranging talent during three residencies in 2016 at the Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan; the Blue Note in Honolulu, Hawaii; and Cafe Carlyle at The Carlyle Hotel in New York City. The latter, titled "Joan Osborne Sings The Songs of Bob Dylan," received critical acclaim from outlets such as The New York Times ("At every point in the evening, you had a sense of Ms. Osborne as an artist who knew exactly what she was doing") and the Huffington Post ("Her set was magic...the evening was a rediscovery of familiar Dylan, re-mined for new riches...hearing Osborne singing and dancing the Dylan greats was further testament to their versatility, beauty, and his genius"). Osborne felt this would be a great chance to work out an idea she had of doing a "Songbook Series" of albums -- the way Ella Fitzgerald did in recording the songs of Gershwin, Cole Porter, and others -- but with the songs of more recent writers. Dylan was an obvious choice. As a result of the successful Cafe Carlyle residency, the "Joan Osborne Sings The Songs of Bob Dylan" show is the performance that she has chosen to bring to the Opera House.

Osborne continues to enjoy a long and storied career that was jumpstarted with the great success of her major-label debut album, 'Relish,' which wove together strands of American roots music, poetic lyrics and impassioned vocals, and produced the massive MTV and international radio smash, "One of Us." The song occupied the number one spot on the U.S. singles chart for two weeks, 'Relish' eventually racked up sales of over three million copies, and Osborne found a large and appreciative audience, particularly during touring as part of Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair tour.

Although the Kentucky native grew up with a passion for music, when she arrived in New York City in the late 1980s, it was to attend New York University's prestigious film school. But she couldn't resist the pull of the city's live music scene for long, and soon she was performing her own songs in downtown rock clubs and emerging as a popular presence in a vibrant scene of rootsy new acts that included such then-unknowns as Jeff Buckley, Chris Whitley, Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors.

Tickets for the concert are available through the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor, open Tuesday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Advance purchase tickets are $35. Tickets are $40 at the door, if available. Doors for seating open at 7 p.m., all seats are general admission. The Opera House bar opens at 6:30 p.m. for ticket holders and the music begins with opening act, Brian Dunne, on stage at 7:30.