Joan Osborne Relish on 2LP
Although Kentucky native Joan Osborne grew up with a passion for music, when she arrived in New York City in the late 1980s, it was to attend New York University's prestigious film school. But she couldn't resist the pull of the city's live music scene for long, and soon she was performing her own songs in downtown rock clubs and emerging as a popular presence in a vibrant scene of rootsy new acts that included such then-unknowns as Jeff Buckley, Chris Whitley, Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors.
In 1992, Osborne launched her own indie label, Womanly Hips, and released the live Soul Show: Live at Delta 88 and the studio EP Blue Million Miles. Osborne's regional success led to a major-label deal and the release of her 1995 multi-platinum breakthrough album Relish, which included her ubiquitous No. 1 single "One of Us."
The song was more pop-oriented than the rest of the album, which is steeped in country, blues and folk music. "Right Hand Man" and "St. Teresa" were minor hits following the success of "One of Us," and Osborne's audience grew significantly with her appearance on 1997's inaugural Lilith Fair tour. Doing so placed her in the same school of female singer-songwriters as Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan.