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Joan Osborne’s NYC Shows Bring New Voice To Bob Dylan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS Local) – The echo of Bob Dylan’s music can still be heard throughout New York City. Joan Osborne is back to help people hear it anew.

“I came to New York to study filmmaking at NYU,” the Kentucky-born Osborne told CBS Local. “I had no thought that I was going to do music. But there was a music scene happening down in the Village around where NYU is at the time.

“I started going to this open mic, and I started meeting other musicians,” she said. “There was something so immediate about singing and about music that I think it really captured my imagination.”

Osborne, the Grammy-nominated singer best known for her 1995 recording “One of Us,” remembers the board range of sounds and voices surrounding her at when she arrived.

“It was an amazing scene in New York,” she said. “This was like the late 80s, the early 90s. You still had this holdover of punk rock, places like CBGB that were still very active. You had a lot of blues clubs at the time, and those were mostly the places I was playing.

“But then you also had singer-songwriter places like the cafe Sin-é,” she said. “There was just a lot talent – you could go out and hear any kind of music, any night of the week, so the inspiration was always right there at your fingertips.”

About 25 years earlier, another young musician from far away was following a similar path. Leaving Minnesota, Dylan came to New York in 1961 to visit the ailing Woody Guthrie and was soon earning his own reputation among the Village’s folk singers.

“You cannot really talk about Bob Dylan without talking about the impact he’s had on music as a whole, on the culture as a whole,” Osborne said. “You have to look at him as an influencer and also as an artist. He’s somebody who has written things that run the gambit, from humorous to very deeply poetic, to tenderly romantic, and funny, and everything in between.”

Now calling Brooklyn her home, the singer found a new voice for New York as part of a residency for the Café Carlyle — a cabaret venue that’s “been in Woody Allen movies, so c’mon, how much more iconic New York can you get” — where Osborne decided to find one artist to focus her two weeks of performances earlier this year.

“We picked Bob Dylan because he has so many amazing songs we could never run out of material,” she said. “That’s how the whole thing came together.”

The canon of work from those shows is available now on her latest release, “Songs of Bob Dylan,” published by Osborne’s Womanly Hips Records label.

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