Trying to get to heaven before they close the door (a reprise tribute to Bob Dylan courtesy of Joan Osborne)

The following is a repeat of an earlier post from before the pandemic It was our last concert before the world changed.

Joan Osborne is an under-appreciated singer, songwriter, who is best known for her song “If God was one of us.” Bob Dylan, of course, is a Nobel Laureate who can also write compelling music to go with his beautifully scripted words.

My wife and I traveled to Atlanta to see Osborne sing a host of Dylan’s songs in tribute. She also has produced a CD of such songs. Osborne has a sensual and sensuous style in her singing that adds seasoning to Dylan’s music. She also hand-picked songs that resonated with her, selecting some deeper cuts, a few of which we did not know.

Here are some of the highlights:

“Buckets of Rain” – She said Dylan wrote several love songs that do not get acclaim.   We were unfamiliar with this one, but it is a  treat live and as a recording,

“Tangled up in Blue” – This is my favorite Dylan song and she did more than justice to it. Her pacing and style revealed the saga portrayed by Dylan’s words.

“Highway 61 Revisited” – This is a great song, but an even better one live. She makes it more human, beginning with the example of Abraham.

“Quinn the Eskimo” – Many people do not know Dylan wrote this classic. She opened her show with this one, so we, had to think for a second.

“Tryin’ to get to Heaven” – This was my favorite version of a Dylan song. She accentuated with a strategic pause each time “before they close the door.”

“Gotta Serve Somebody” – She excelled on this classic Dylan song. It was much more sensual and bluesy than Dylan could offer with his singing.

“Masters of War” – This was another Dylan song which was unfamiliar to us, but it is classic Dylan in protest chastising those who say you can win a war without costs.

“Don’t think twice, it’s alright” – When I think of this one, I think of Peter, Paul and Mary paying homage to Dylan. She covered it well.

She did not sing these songs during the concert, but she includes them in her CD.

“Dark Eyes”
“You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go”
“Rainy Day Women”

She probably dropped them as she sang a couple of songs she has yet to release along with her biggest hit. If you do not know Osborne, download or purchase her CDs. “Relish” is her second CD which won a Grammy. Our favorite is “Righteous Love,” which we saw her perform on Austin City Limits. Or, just buy her “Songs of Bob Dylan” CD.

Since it was a small venue, we got a chance to speak with her afterwards. She is very gracious and down-to-earth. And, definitely worth the listening.

15 thoughts on “Trying to get to heaven before they close the door (a reprise tribute to Bob Dylan courtesy of Joan Osborne)

  1. Note to Readers: If you get a chance, listen to a live version of Osborne singing an old classic with The Funk Brothers called ‘What becomes of the broken-hearted.” It is a nice conversation with the band leader and stay tuned for the big finish. She would make Jimmy Ruffin proud with her rendition.

    • VJ, I agree. His words and music need to be heard. What I liked is she picked songs that were not necessarily his most popular. It added meaning. Keith

  2. That sounds like a wonderful concert. Covid really took a bite out of live music and I miss it. The first concert I ever attended was Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell. At the time, I didn’t even realize what a huge event that was with such iconic talents. I’ll look up Osborne. Your post certainly intrigued me. Thanks Keith. 😀

    • Diana, what a line-up for a first (or any) concert! We love Joan Osborne and Bob Dylan, so it was a good pairing of her talent and his music. It was a new venue in a rehabbed factory in Atlanta, so it was a cool place. Keith

      • Diana, you sound like me, appreciating keeping alive old buildings. Where I live, they took an old church and made a Performing Arts Center. We have seen so many older and news acts there – John Sebastian, Harry Connick, Jr., Blood Sweat and Tears, Arlo Guthrie, et al. Keith

  3. Thanks for this and so many of your posts – juggling current events, music and updates about our WP family. I was surprised to find this Bowie cover, released this year – or I think it was just released.

    Trying to reconcile sleep and waking hours;;;it was a marathon of intense work leading up to the show and now a marathon of sleep sessions.

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