Connect with us

Music & Concerts

Revisiting ‘Relish’

Classic ‘90s Joan Osborne album out in deluxe reissue



Joan Osborne, gay news, Washington Blade
Joan Osborne, gay news, Washington Blade

Joan Osborne says the moody, dreamy world of her classic album ‘Relish’ was intentional. (Photo courtesy CAMI)

Mavis Staples & Joan Osborne


Solid Soul Tour


Saturday, Oct. 31


8 p.m.


Lisner Auditorium


730 21st St., N.W.




Joan Osborne’s landmark 1995 album “Relish” is being reissued on Friday, Oct. 30 in a deluxe 20th anniversary edition in three formats — a single-disc edition with bonus cuts, a 20-track digital bundle with more outtakes and a spate of live B-sides or a double-LP set.

Osborne’s “Solid Soul Tour” with Mavis Staples comes to the Lisner Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 31. We caught up with her by phone from a tour stop at Penn State to reminisce about all things “Relish.”

On what inspired the reissue: “The record still has a lot of fans and it’s nice to just sort of give a nod to the fact that it’s been around so long.”

On first single “St. Teresa”: “I think it was one of those situations where you release a song that you feel is going to get people interested in the record as a whole and then you wait and build a little interest that way, then you bring out the song that you think might be your pop hit, so I think that was everybody’s strategy if I recall.”

On why there were two “St. Teresa” videos: “After ‘One of Us’ was such a big hit, they felt they wanted to re-release ‘St. Teresa’ as a single and I guess they weren’t completely happy with that first video. I was like, ‘Well, I have an idea for it,’ and they allowed me to direct the second video where I was a hotel maid. That was really fun.”

On mega-hit “One of Us”: “I liked the song and I thought it was interesting. I don’t think that I anticipated it becoming the sort of pop hit that it was or that it became or that it would be controversial. … I could see how people might take exception to using the word slob, as in just a slob like one of us, to refer to God because that certainly flies in the face of most cultures’ perceptions of God, but I didn’t think it was particularly sacrilegious. I felt the song was kind of like having a little kid come up to you and tug on your sleeve and ask you a very innocent question but a question you don’t really have the answer for which kind of sets you back and makes you think about things in that way that children can do because they don’t know any better.”

On the “Airplane Ride” sample that opens “One of Us”: “That came from a record I found in a little record store in SoHo. … I was just wandering around in there one day trying to write lyrics and I went down and found this compilation of Appalachian music and it looked interesting to me so I brought it home. Later I brought it into the session and Rick Chertoff, the producer, and Eric Bazillian and Rob Hyman and the guys I was collaborating with, we were all sort of charmed by it, in particular the heavenly airplane bit, we just thought … it would be a fun thing to add to the front of (‘One of Us’). A lot of people thought it was me, but it wasn’t. Her name was Nell Hampton.”

On locating the “Relish” outtakes: “I didn’t have any of it. It was all in some Universal Music Group vault. I think Rob Hyman had a couple of cassette tapes that he dug out of a box at home. I looked for stuff in my archives but I couldn’t really find anything. The only thing that wasn’t from the vault was the cassette of Rob’s original demo of ‘One of Us.’”

On “Century,” a non-album track she used to perform around the time of “Relish”: “That was one we were taking about putting on (the reissue) but … there are always things that make it on to a record and things that are left off and there are reasons for them to be left off and part of the reason is you just don’t want anybody to hear them.”

On making “Relish”: “One of the things about working with Rick Chertoff was that he was one of these guys who said it doesn’t matter how long it takes, it doesn’t matter how much work it is, none of that stuff matters as long as you get it right and you do it from the ground up and take your time.”

On follow-up “Righteous Love” and its delayed release: “‘The life of ‘Relish’ took a long, long time and was … a tough act to follow. I think there were a lot of expectations from the label and myself that I had to turn around right away and come up with something that was really smashing and I think that intimidated me to a certain extent. I did a lot of things and turned them into the record company and they rejected them, so there was that aspect as well. It was not a particularly fun part of my life.”

On touring with Mavis Staples: “Being on stage with her each night is a total inspiration. She’s just got that thing where she can reach people. She’s so full of joy and also really funny and really smart. It’s just going really great.”


Music & Concerts

Musical icons and newer stars to rock D.C. this spring

Brandi Carlile, Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, and more headed our way



Brandi Carlile plays the Anthem this month.

Bands and solo artists of all different genres are visiting D.C. this spring. Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will team up to perform at the Wolf Trap in June, and girl in red will play at the Anthem in April. Some artists and bands aren’t paying a visit until the summer, like Janet Jackson and Usher, but there are still plenty of acts to see as the weather warms up. 


Brandi Carlile plays at the Anthem on March 21; Arlo Parks will perform at 9:30 Club on March 23; Girlschool will take the stage at Blackcat on March 28.


Nicki Minaj stops in D.C. at Capital One Arena as part of her North American tour on April 1; Bad Bunny plays at Capital One Arena on April 9 as part of his Most Wanted tour; girl in red performs at the Anthem on April 20 and 21; Brandy Clark plays at the Birchmere on April 25; Laufey comes to town to play at the Anthem on April 25 and 26. 


Belle and Sebastian play at the Anthem on May 2; Chastity Belt performs at Blackcat on May 4; Madeleine Peyroux stops at the Birchmere on May 5; The Decemberists play at the Anthem on May 10; the rock band Mannequin Pussy performs at the Atlantis on May 17 and 18; Hozier plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on May 17 as part of the Unreal Unearth tour. 


Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will sing soulful melodies at Wolf Trap on June 8; Joe Jackson performs at the Lincoln Theatre on June 10; the Pixies and Modest Mouse are teaming up to play at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 14; Maggie Rogers plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 16 as part of The Don’t Forget Me tour; Brittany Howard headlines the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap on June 22; Sarah McLachlan plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 27; Alanis Morissette performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 29 and 30

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Grammys: Queer women and their sisters took down the house

Taylor Swift won Album of the Year



When the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, her answer was simple: Nine. She stated: “I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” RBG did not attend the Grammy’s last night, but her spirit sure did. Women, at long last, dominated, ruled and killed the night.

Cher, in song a decade ago, declared that “this is a woman’s world,” but there was little evidence that was true, Grammy, and entertainment awards, speaking. In 2018, the Grammys were heavily criticized for lack of female representation across all categories and organizers’ response was for women to “step up.”

Be careful what you wish for boys.

The biggest star of the 2024 Grammys was the collective power of women. They made history, they claimed legacy and they danced and lip sang to each other’s work. Standing victorious was Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA (the most nominated person of the year), Lainey Wilson, Karol G, boygenius, Kylie Minogue and Victoria Monét. Oh, yes, and powerhouse Taylor Swift, the superstar from whom Fox News cowers in fear, made history to become the first performer of any gender to win four Best Album of the Year trophies.

In the throng of these powerful women stand a number of both LGBTQ advocates and queer identifying artists. Cyrus has identified as pansexual, SZA has said lesbian rumors “ain’t wrong,” Phoebe Bridgers (winner of four trophies during the night, most of any artist) is lesbian, Monét is bi and Eilish likes women but doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, ask any queer person about Swift or Minogue and you are likely to get a love-gush.

Women power was not just owned by the lady award winners. There were the ladies and then there were the Legends. The first Legend to appear was a surprise. Country singer Luke Combs has a cross-generational hit this year with a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” When originally released, the song was embraced as a lesbian anthem. When performing “Fast Car,” surprise, there was Chapman herself, singing the duet with Combs. The rendition was stunning, sentimental and historic.

Chapman, like many of the night’s female dignitaries, has not been public with her sexuality. Author Alice Walker has spoken of the two of them being lovers, however.

The legend among legends of the night, however, was the one and only Joni Mitchell. Not gay herself, she embodies the concept of an LGBTQ icon, and was accompanied by the very out Brandi Carlile on stage. On her website, Mitchell’s statement to the LGBTQ community reads, “The trick is if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it will probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself and now you’re getting something out of it.”

Mitchell performed her longtime classic “Both Sides Now.” The emotion, insight and delivery from the now 80-year old artist, survivor of an aneurism, was nothing short of profound. (To fully appreciate the nuance time can bring, check out the YouTube video of a Swift lookalike Mitchell singing the same song to Mama Cass and Mary Travers in 1969.) In this latest rendition, Mitchell clearly had an impact on Meryl Streep who was sitting in the audience. Talk about the arc of female talent and power.

That arc extended from a today’s lady, Cyrus, to legend Celine Dion as well. Cyrus declared Dion as one of her icons and inspirations early in the evening. Dion appeared, graceful and looking healthy, to present the final, and historic, award of the night at the end of the show.

Legends did not even need to be living to have had an effect on the night. Tributes to Tina Turner and Sinead O’Conner by Oprah, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor and Annie Lennox respectively, proved that not even death could stop these women. As Lennox has musically and famously put it, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.”

Even the content of performances by today’s legends-in-the-making spoke to feminine power. Eilish was honored for, and performed “What Was I Made For?,” a haunting and searching song that speaks to the soul of womanhood and redefinition in today’s fight for gender rights and expression, while Dua Lipa laid down the gauntlet for mind blowing performance with her rendition of “Houdini” at the top of the show, Cyrus asserted the power of her anthem “Flowers” and pretty much stole the show.

Cyrus had not performed the song on television before, and only three times publicly. She declared in her intro that she was thrilled over the business numbers the song garnered, but she refused to let them define her. As she sang the hit, she scolded the audience, “you guys act like you don’t know the words to this song.” Soon the woman power of the room was singing along with her, from Swift to Oprah.

They can buy themselves flowers from now on. They don’t need anyone else. Cyrus made that point with the mic drop to cap all mic drops, “And I just won my first Grammy!” she declared as she danced off stage.

Even the squirmiest moment of the night still did not diminish the light of women power, and in fact, underscored it. During his acceptance of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a bone to pick with the Grammy voters. He called out the irony that his wife Beyoncé had won more Grammys than any other human, but had never won the Best Album of the Year. Yeah, what’s with that?

But then, it brought additional context ultimately to the fact that the winner of the most Grammys individually … is a woman. And to the fact that the winner of the most Best Album of the Year awards … is a woman.

Hopefully this was the night that the Grammys “got it.” Women are the epicenter of The Creative Force.

Will the other entertainment awards get it soon as well? We can hope.

Most importantly, in a political world where women’s healthcare is under siege. Will the American voters get it?

A little known band named Little Mix put it this way in their 2019 song “A Woman’s World.”

“If you can’t see that it’s gotta change
Only want the body but not the brains
If you really think that’s the way it works
You ain’t lived in a woman’s world

Just look at how far that we’ve got
And don’t think that we’ll ever stop…”

From Grammy’s mouth to the world’s ear.

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Janet Jackson returning to D.C, Baltimore

‘Together Again Tour’ comes to Capital One Arena, CFG Bank Arena



Janet Jackson is coming back to D.C. this summer.

Pop icon Janet Jackson announced this week an extension of her 2023 “Together Again Tour.” A new leg of the tour will bring Jackson back to the area for two shows, one at D.C.’s Capital One Arena on Friday, July 12 and another at Baltimore’s CFG Bank Arena on Saturday, July 13.  

Tickets are on sale now via TicketMaster. LiveNation announced the 2023 leg of the tour consisted of 36 shows, each of which was sold out. The 2024 leg has 35 stops planned so far; R&B star Nelly will open for Jackson on the new leg. 

Jackson made the tour announcement Tuesday on social media: “Hey u guys! By popular demand, we’re bringing the Together Again Tour back to North America this summer with special guest Nelly! It’ll be so much fun!”

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade