Producing a worthy follow-up to Relish proved to be a time-consuming challenge for Osborne. Mercury tried to buy some time by issuing a compilation release, Early Recordings (which collected the early releases Live at Delta '88 and Blue Million Miles). In the meantime, Osborne focused on supporting a few groups/causes she felt strongly about, such as Rock the Vote and Planned Parenthood (eventually being named an honorary member of Planned Parenthood's board of advocates), in addition to covering "I'm Just a Bill" as a duet with Isaac Hayes on the 1998 Schoolhouse Rocks the Vote! benefit album. She also studied briefly with late Qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and performed alongside such notables as Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge, Taj Mahal, Luciano Pavarotti, Spearhead, Bob Dylan, and the Chieftains. September 2000 finally saw the release of Osborne's next all-new studio album, titled Righteous Love, which failed to match its predecessor's commercial success and sank from sight shortly after release. She bounced back in 2002 with How Sweet It Is, a collection of covers that leaned heavily on classic soul and R&B tunes from the '60s and '70s. A career retrospective, One of Us, followed in 2005. Vanguard picked her up shortly after this, and Osborne released her first full-length on that label, a country-tinged effort called Pretty Little Stranger, in 2006. It was followed in 2007 by Breakfast in Bed and in 2008 by Little Wild One. After a break of three years, Osborne re-entered a recording studio with her road band and co-producer Jack Petruzzelli. They emerged with a raw, wooly collection of classic blues and R&B covers entitled Bring It on Home; it was released in the spring of 2012.
She took more direct control over her next release, Love & Hate. Osborne and Petruzzelli re-teamed for co-production duties, but this time she but wrote or co-wrote every song. The album was released in the spring of 2014.
Originally from Anchorage, Kentucky, an affluent suburb of Louisville, Osborne moved to New York City in the late 1980s, where she formed her own record label, Womanly Hips, to release a few independent recordings. She signed with Mercury Records, and released her first full-length album, Soul Show: Live at Delta 88, in 1991. Her second (and first major label) album was Relish (1995), which became a hit on the strength of the single "One of Us". Apart from this song, the rest of the album was steeped in country, blues and folk music. "Right Hand Man" and "St. Teresa" became minor hits following the success of "One of Us".
In 2001, Osborne appeared on Austin City Limits, singing material mainly from Righteous Love. In a brief interview segment at the end of the episode, Osborne reflects on her gladness to have gotten out of the limelight of her mid-90's stardom. She was featured in the 2002 documentary film, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and toured with Motown sidemen the Funk Brothers. She and her band accompanied the Dixie Chicks for a national tour in the summer of 2003, during which time she also joined veteran San Francisco jam-rockers The Dead as a vocalist, and released her fourth album, titled How Sweet It Is, a collection of classic rock and soul covers.
During 2005 and 2006, Osborne performed on numerous occasions with Phil Lesh and Friends. Her vocals were featured prominently on the album Live at the Warfield.
In February 2007, she appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. In May 2007, she issued Breakfast in Bed produced by Tor Hyams, a return to the soul music that she had covered on How Sweet It Is. Breakfast in Bed also featured the two songs ("Heatwave" and "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted") that she had covered for the film Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
Osborne sang lead vocals on the cover of "Spoonful" on Vivian Campbell's solo album Two Sides Of If. She also provided some vocals for "Wayfaring Stranger" on Spearhead's 1997 album Chocolate Supa Highway. She covered Dolly Parton's "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" on the 2003 tribute album Just Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton. She is featured on the Holmes Brothers 2007 collection State of Grace performing "Those Memories of You", an old Alan O'Bryant bluegrass tune. Her album, Little Wild One, was released in September 2008. Osborne performs as a guest vocalist on Sgt. Pepper Live, the 2009 album and DVD by Cheap Trick. In 2010, she was awarded the Woman of Achievement Award from Women's Project Theater. She performed with The Waybacks at Merlefest, 2011, during the Hillside Album hour, featuring The Allman Brothers' Eat a Peach.
Her album Bring It On Home was released on March 27, 2012. It is a collection of vintage blues and soul covers, and it received a 2013 Grammy Awards nomination for Best Blues Album. In September 2012, Osborne was featured in a campaign called ″30 Songs / 30 Days″ to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book.
Osborne is currently a member of Trigger Hippy, along with Steve Gorman, Tom Bukovac, Jackie Greene, and Nick Govrik. Trigger Hippy released their debut album on September 30, 2014.
Singer Joan Osborne was born on July 8, 1962, in the town of Anchorage, KY, but it wasn't until relocating to New York City in the early '90s (to study at NYU's film school) that she began to take a singing career seriously after singing Billie Holiday's classic "God Bless the Child" at a local bar's open-mike night. In addition to Holiday, Osborne looked to such legendary vocalists as Etta James and Ray Charles as role models, as the up-and-coming singer decided not to cater to major record companies and formed her own label, Womanly Hips, which resulted in such releases as 1992's in-concert Soul Show, among others. But eventually Osborne decided to sign on with a major label, Mercury, which in turn issued the singer's next release, Relish, in March 1995. The album proved to have a long life, as almost a year after its initial release the track "One of Us" became a massive MTV and radio smash, camping out at the number one spot on the U.S. singles chart for two weeks, and Relish eventually racked up sales of three million copies. Further tracks ("Right Hand Man" and "St. Teresa") failed to match the success of Osborne's first hit, but the singer still managed to connect with a large and appreciative audience, especially during touring as part of the 1997 edition of Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair tour.
One of Us
If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
1-And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin' to make his way home?
If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see if, seeing meant
That you would have to believe in things like heaven
And in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?
(repeat 1, 1)
Back up to heaven all alone
No, nobody calling on the phone
No, just tryin' to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
'Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome