After winning a Grammy for his soulful ballad “Walking in Memphis”, Marc Cohn solidified his place as one of this generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters, combining the precision of a brilliant tunesmith with the passion of a great soul man. He’s a natural storyteller, balancing the exuberant with the poignant, and able to distill universal truth out of his often romantic, drawn-from-life tales.
Cohn followed up his platinum-selling debut with two more releases in the 1990s, at which point TIME magazine called him "one of the honest, emotional voices we need in this decade" and Bonnie Raitt declared, "Marc is one of the most soulful, talented artists I know. I love his songs, he's an incredible singer, and I marvel at his ability to mesmerize every audience he plays for." Raitt, James Taylor, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Patty Griffin all made guest appearances on Cohn's early records for Atlantic, as his reputation as an artist and performer continued to grow. In 1998, Cohn took a decade-long sabbatical from recording, ending in 2007 with Join The Parade. Inspired by the horrific events following Hurricane Katrina and his own near fatal shooting just weeks before, Parade is his most moving and critically acclaimed record to date. About his latest album Listening Booth: 1970, Rolling Stone said, "Cohn has one of rock's most soulful croons - a rich immediately recognizable tenor that makes these songs his own."
Joan Osborne’s Bring It on Home is a collection of vintage blues, R&B and soul songs from the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artist. It’s an apt title—for Osborne, Home marks a return to her musical roots. “I cut my teeth in New York blues clubs singing songs like this,” she remembers. “I’d do three or four one-hour sets per night. That’s where I really learned to sing.”
The challenge for Osborne and her band mates (the same crew she uses in her live show) was to get the song selection right and bring something new to the music. “I didn’t just want to take my set list from 20 years ago – so that’s why most of these songs are ones I had sung never before,” she says. “And it’s a challenge to bring something to a recording that you already know so well and love. The key is, what can do you that’s different but just as satisfying?”
The answer involved mixing a little bit of the old and the new. Osborne tackled vintage songs by Ike and Tina Turner, Sonny Boy Williamson, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters and Al Green (among others), treating them with respect while giving them some interesting twists in tempo, key and feeling
Most of the tracks on Home were recorded live, “in one or two takes,” at the Waterfront Studios in Hudson, New York, with engineer Henry Hirsch, who used a 24-track Studer tape machine to replicate the analog sound of the era.
Guest stars on the album include “Barbecue” Bob Pomeroy on harmonica, Allen Toussaint on piano (playing on his own song “Shoorah! Shoorah!”), Conan O’Brien band director Jimmy Vivino (horn arrangements, electric piano), vocalists the Holmes Brothers and Rufus Thomas’s daughter Vaneese.
Bring It on Home reminded the singer of what music is all about. “These songs, they’re a remedy--they get me out of my head,” she says. “These songs put the music back in my heart and my soul.”