Los Lobos with Joan Osbourne @ Arrowood Farms


Fri, Jul 12, 2024    
5:30 pm


Arrowood Farms
236 Lower Whitfield Rd., Accord, NY, 12404

Event Type

It’s a matter of time. 50 years to be exact. And in that time Los Lobos have created an unprecedented body of work, a legacy of greatness. The numbers are staggering: 100+ gigs a year for five decades running, crossing millions of miles to rock millions of fans. And that’s just at the live shows. In between they’ve recorded 17 studio albums, 7 live LPs, 3 compilations, 2 EPs, 2 DVDs, and contributed 40+ guest appearances on their friends’ recordings—all garnering 4 Grammys, an Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction, the ALMA Ritchie Valens Pioneer Award, NEA and Hispanic Heritage Foundation Honors, Congressional recognitions, plus countless “Keys to the City” and “Los Lobos Day” celebrations. And those are just a few of the highlights. But beyond all the hoopla and applause (and the source of it all, really) is the tremendous heart. Rather, hearts. Cinco corazones. Five blood brothers who have dedicated their off-stage time to helping others, working for peace and justice, penning some of the most literate and important music of their time, transforming the hard cries from the East L.A. barrio into songs of hope, tales of common folk finding ways to endure. The young wolves were weaned on late-night radio’s soul, R&B, and doo-wop. Were cured through the African-American currents of the blues, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll. An amalgam. As proud Chicanos, their songs have always glistened with the distillation from their Mexican and Latin American roots— nourished by Norteña and rancheras, buoyed by bolero and cumbias, soaring on the rhythms of son huasteco and son jarocho. Los Lobos have helped spread the rich diversity of cultures across every continent, throughout the global community. Kids in Antwerp now know about Aztlán. Residents of Luxor and Ghana are crooning Lalo Guerrero. People from Laos and Bulgaria are belting “La Bamba”—all thanks to The Wolves as cultural ambassadors. Talk about a living legacy. Talk about a productive half century. And in the true rebel spirit, they did it all on their own terms, against formula. For the ages. To our delight. Quite simply, they are one of the tightest, one of the best, one of the most prolific bands ever. And, amazingly, with the original founding members as the pack the entire time. Unprecedented. As their liner notes put it, quite simply: “Los Lobos still are David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Jr., Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, Steve Berlin.”
On her tenth studio album, the masterful Trouble and Strife, Joan Osborne has issued a clarion call. With stunning vocals, a diverse range of sonics, and incisive lyrics, this deeply engaging collection of new original songs is her response to “the crazy, chaotic times we’re living in,” she says, and “a recognition of the important role music has to play in this moment. Music has a unique ability to re-energize people and allow us to continue to hang on to that sense of joy of being alive.”
Since she broke through 25 years ago with the multi-platinum Relish and its touchstone mega-smash “One of Us,” the seven-time Grammy nominee has never played it safe. Osborne has followed her restless musical heart, exploring a diverse range of genres: pop rock, soul, R&B, blues, roots rock, gospel, funk, and country – all of which can be heard on Trouble and Strife, along with the Western side of C&W and a touch of glam and disco. “For a lot of the record, we were going for a ‘70s AM radio vibe,” says Osborne. Asforthelyrics,thesongs“arethemostpoliticalI’veeverwritten,”sheconveys of her first album of originals since 2014’s confessional Love and Hate. Osborne also produced Trouble and Strife, primarily recorded in her basement studio in Brooklyn and released on the label she founded in 1991, Womanly Hips.
Tackling serious subject matter in her writing while crafting music to “uplift,” Osborne assembled “a great live band” (including several musicians who played on her acclaimed last album, Songs of Bob Dylan): guitarists Jack Petruzzelli, Nels Cline, and Andrew Carillo, keyboardist Keith Cotton, bassist Richard Hammond and drummer Aaron Comess. For vocal harmonies, she enlisted exquisite vocalists Catherine Russell, Ada Dyer, Martha Redbone and Audrey Martells, whom she’s “had the great privilege to work with over many years.” The result is a Trojan horse of a record – music that is energizing, melodic, and hummable, with lyrics that call out the corrupt, the despicable and the destructive.
Roots-rockin’ opener “Take It Any Way I Can Get It” inspires with the mandate “I’m still survivin’/I got to be dancin’”, propelled by a joyous gospel-tinged vocal attack backed by Wurlitzer and Southern-style intertwined guitars that dare you to sit still. She co-wrote the funky “Never Get Tired (of Loving You)” with Richard Hammond and her partner Keith Cotton, propelled by Cotton’s Prophet 6 synth, for her teenaged daughter: a message of stability in an uncertain world. “That song has a serious subtext,” says Osborne, but its “cool, retro flavor hopefully makes it a joyful thing.” The gorgeous ballad “Whole Wide World” finds Osborne hitting impossibly high notes, its sound inspired by the Chi-Lites; its message “is about hanging on to hope and envisioning something better for the future.” Another early ‘70’s sound infuses the super-catchy “Boy Dontcha Know”: Osborne’s purring vocals are surrounded by a Spiders from Mars-era piano and Big Star-esque Mando-guitar; its singalong lyrics look at gender nonconformity and the obstacles one faces when born female.
Abuse of power is the subject of two of the angriest songs on Trouble and Strife, with their infectious sound imbuing the songs a la a wolf in sheep’s clothing: the bluesy stomp “Hands Off,” punctuated by distinctive guitar riffs, denounces corrupt exploiters of people and the planet. “That Was A Lie,” with scornful lyrics buffeted by buoyant pop rock, castigates “those camera-ready mouthpieces for corrupt officials,” according to Osborne.
Texan Ana Maria Rea, whose family emigrated to America when she was a child, contributed spoken passages in her native tongue to the rhythmic “What’s That You Say.” “She tells the story of her family coming from Mexico City, where her father had been kidnapped, to the U.S. and how difficult that was,” says Osborne. “Her message is ‘I’m not afraid,’ and her mission is to help other people who are in the same position she was in. Ana Maria is a shining light of a person.”
Escape from a place where “there’s nothin’ left alive” drives Osborne to “Panama,” a showcase of her vocal range expressing gut-punch lyrics reminiscent of Dylan at his most vitriolic. But it is the Western-flavored title track that Osborne points to as the song most inspired by her “Dylanology” concerts that began in 2016 and led to her 2018 covers album, “If you spend that intensive time living with his songs, I think it just rubs off on you,” Osborne admits. “’Trouble and Strife’ betrays the Dylan influence the most because of the odd characters coming in and out of these absurd situations (much like the ones we find ourselves in today).”
Osborne’s years of experience as a seasoned road warrior are reflected throughout Trouble and Strife, the album. Her tenure with what she calls a “meat and potatoes rock ‘n roll band”, Trigger Hippy, shows up in “Meat and Potatoes,” a farewell collaboration with her former bandmates, cut in a Nashville studio: Written with Trigger Hippy bassist Nick Govrik, it features that group’s Southern-boogie groove. It’s a feel-good song extolling the virtue of downhome cookin’ – and lovin’. “
It’s been quite the journey since the woman AllMusic.com declared “the most gifted vocalist of her generation” moved from small-town Kentucky to attend NYU film school in the 1980s. Osborne’s astounding voice drew attention when she joined the fun at open mic nights in downtown clubs, which eventually led to 1995’s Relish, “that rare breed of album where critical consensus, popular approval and enduring appeal unite,” according to American Songwriter. Since then, she’s performed with Motown’s revered rhythm section the Funk Brothers and toured with the Dead (where she first met and sang with Dylan). She’s harmonized with Stevie Wonder at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, duetted with Luciano Pavarotti, and co-headlined a tour with the legendary Mavis Staples. She has amassed a loyal fan base as she’s continuously traveled the country. Through it all, she sees more clearly now than ever the essential role our troubadours play.

“I feel like music has this important job to do right now,” Osborne says. “Part of that job is to help imagine a better future – and to hang on to hope. I want to play for people and get them up on their feet and dancing. To let music do that thing it does – bring joy and energy because we really need that right now.” With Trouble and Strife, she intends to do just that.

🎟 https://impactconcerts.tixr.com/loslobos
Tickets on-sale Fri 3/15 10am
Gates 4:30pm / Show 5:30pm / End 9:30pm