I've always been a big Joan Osborne fan. Her Relish album has been in my rotation since its release in 1995 for those times when I need a blues- and soul-infused pick-me-up. Ditto her 2012 record Bring It On Home, which was nominated for a Grammy for best blues album. And her performances with the Dead after Jerry Garcia died brought a revitalizing energy to the band. Even as a loyal Deadhead, I can’t shake the feeling that every Dead tune sounds better when she sings it.
So I was ecstatic to learn that Joan Osborne is in a new band called Trigger Hippy. When I learned that Trigger Hippy also includes two members of the Black Crowes (drummer Steve Gorman and guitarist Jackie Greene), well, needless to say, I put everything on hold to check out the record.
As you might expect given its makeup, Trigger Hippy’s self-titled debut album mixes rock, blues and country. Some of the tunes, like “Cave Hill Cemetery,” have an Allman Brothers feel of churning organ and guitar; the outro to “Tennessee Mud” sounds like vintage Black Crowes with its syncopated drums and guitar overlay; and “Pocahontas” could easily find itself on Relish with a Stevie Wonder “Superstition”-like riff animating the chorus. Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene share vocal duties on the record, including duets on two of my favorite, slow-burning tracks, “Rise Up Singing” (above) and “Heartache On The Line” (below).
The musical combinations at play in Trigger Hippy create a sound that is both fresh and classic. Check it out and report back.