Having fronted The Dead for a time, Joan Osborne is no stranger to supergroups. In Trigger Hippy, the soulful singer has joined forces with founder/drummer Steve Gorman, producer/guitarist Tom Bukovac, songwriter/bassist Nick Govrick, and singer/songwriter Jackie Greene. To get an idea of the band’s musical roots, dig no further than the fact that Gorman also founded the Black Crowes and that Bukovac is one of Nashville’s first-call players. This is gritty, bluesy, soul-filled rock done up by some of the best in the business.
On the Hammond-soaked, casual strut of the set’s opener, “Rise Up Singing,” Osborne and Greene trade off vocals. That cut, which was written by Greene, comes off as one of the album’s least jam band-inspired piece. Perhaps that’s why, with all its clap-along, bob-your-head swing, it’s the band’s first single. But Trigger Hippy doesn’t rest for long on those laurels. Starting with the fun-loving “Turpentine,” the next four tracks kick ass… with a big ol’ boot.
Halfway in, the Govrick-penned “Pretty Mess” brings back, somewhat, the tone set by “Rise Up Singing” in that it’s an easy, non-confrontational listen. Catch your breath now because you won’t get another chance until the bluesy groove of “Ain’t Persuaded Yet” and the closing saunter of “Adelaide,” another Govrick composition.
As Osborne has proven for more than 20 years now, she can sing just about anything and make it sound great. Luckily, Trigger Hippy gives her and her cohorts some real gems to work with.
– Kelly McCartney