Love and Hate

Love and Hate

Joan Osborne has proven to be quite the resilient Renaissance woman, working with blues, pop, soul, and country in varying degrees over many albums. 2014’s Love and Hate is as adventurous an album as she has made, and its finest points are among her most beautiful and ambitious. “Where We Start” begins things with a sense of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks springing to mind, with orchestrated strings pushing the rhythm along in elliptical synchronicity. “Work on Me” continues with mysterious orchestration that’s laced with bossa nova hints, but nothing overt. Coproducer Jack Petruzzelli has worked with Osborne since her early blues-club days, and his knowledge of music and of Osborne’s greatest gifts means that even the unexpected swerves into Philly soul or piano balladry are smartly arranged. The female backing choir of Amy Helm, Gail Ann Dorsey, and Catherine Russell keep apace with the funky magic of “Mongrels,” where the Rhodes piano and Nels Cline’s wicked guitar solo keep things plenty sharp.

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