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Twenty years ago, Joan Osborne and Shawn Colvin were main-stage acts on North America’s first female-only music festival, founded by Sarah McLachlan. The resulting “Lilith Fair” was successful enough in Summer ’97 to warrant an encore in Summer ‘98, again featuring Osborne and Colvin. With their recent show at the Music Pier still fresh, it’s too early to guess if they’ll be back in Ocean City next summer. But if so, much of this week’s crowd would welcome their return.Joan Osborne is best remembered for her Grammy-winning, 1996 Top 5 Billboard pop hit, “One of Us”. What may be less known is that she’s one of the better song interpreters currently working. This reviewer had some idea, having witnessed her perform “Little Red Corvette” with Philadelphia’s The Roots at Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 1999, plus watched her reverent take on “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted” with The Funk Brothers, in 2002’s acclaimed Standing in the Shadows of Motown film documentary.What this OCNJ Daily critic and Bob Dylan fanatic didn’t realize, was that Osborne has a new album of Dylan covers coming out in September. So, to call Osborne’s set, comprised entirely of Dylan songs aside from her trademark hit, a pleasant surprise might be underselling it a bit. Equally unprepared, were Andrea & Herb Brunhoffer, a Philadelphia couple visiting Ocean City, seated nearby in row two. Andrea has been visiting Ocean City for 49 years. She was at the Music Pier last summer for Colin Hay, another one of her favorites, but calls Bob Dylan “my number one, easily”. When Osborne introduced the night’s program, before launching into “High Water”, from 2001’s Love & Theft, delighted smiles over our luck were exchanged.Osborne has shown another side of Dylan before, covering “The Man in the Long Black Coat” on her 1995 debut. If this performance was any indicator, this recent self-described “deep dive”, will unearth more treasures. Osborne’s set was an eclectic, hand-picked mix from Dylan’s extensive catalog. It featured deep cuts (“Spanish Harlem Incident”), protest anthems (“Masters of War”) and big hits (“Rainy Day Women”). “Women”, the highest charting number of Dylan’s career, was rendered nearly unrecognizable. Between session ace Jack Petruzelli’s electric guitar riffing and Osborne’s blues wail, “everybody must get stoned” gained sexier undertones. This rendition gaining steady play on Philly’s WXPN 88.5, who hosted the evening, would not be surprising.Joan excelled with some inspired assistance, both in the form of Dylan’s songbook and her company onstage. Petruzelli, a New Jersey native and member of “The Fab Faux”, provided bittersweet acoustic six-string underpinning to make “Buckets of Rain” shine. He also moved to piano late in the show, so Osborne could “Ring Them Bells” for everyone scuffling through “this very intense time”.On the encore, Osborne brought out Shawn Colvin, for the first time on this tour. “When’s the last time we’ve sang together?” Osborne asked her, once Colvin belatedly made her way out onstage and the sound synced. “I have no idea”, mumbled Colvin, “the nineties?!?”. Osborne, having plenty of recent practice, clearly had full command of the lyrics to the Dylan classic “Tangled up in Blue”. In addition to singing her verses, Osborne helpfully cued up Colvin’s on her iPad. It was a sweet bit of impromptu teamwork, giving their sets a baton-passing feel.The headliner, Shawn Colvin, is more commonly known for her songwriting. She’s respected enough by peers, like Steve Earle and Richard Thompson, to instruct at Earle’s Camp Copperhead songwriting retreat. Colvin, a South Dakotan armed with a charmingly self-deprecating, salty sense of humor, claims she doesn’t have much insight on the writing process. “I don’t know what to tell these campers”, then stated “thievery, sleep and deadlines” were the three keys over her thirty-year career.Following a headliner in her own right, who just performed a set of songs penned by the 2016 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, is a tall order. Undaunted, Shawn Colvin was able to rise to that challenge. She did so by piggybacking on the momentum Osborne’s set built, while highlighting their differences as well.Colvin, who performed solo, utilizes “alternate” guitar tuning, a la Joni Mitchell. This occasionally led to her having to re-tune between songs on Monday night. Luckily, if Colvin ever craps out as a concert draw, or a guitar tech, she’s got a possible future as a comedian. While playing with nobs and testing strings, her riffs on touring life, aging and ill-advised romance, struck a chord. When they weren’t clapping or listening intently, Colvin had the crowd laughing with her.This isn’t to say Colvin didn’t also mine the songwriting Hall of Fame archives. Her encore included takes on “Ol’ 55” by Tom Waits and Talking Heads’ “Naïve Melody (This Must Be The Place)”. She was bold enough to break out Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest” mid-show. “I know, it’s pretty nervy to try to do a Boss song, while playing in Jersey”. The crowd, appreciating the acknowledgement, let her know she pulled it off.Colvin primarily stuck with her own creations, selections from her “long catalog of breakup songs”. One of those was 1997 Song of the Year Grammy Award Winner, “Sunny Came Home”. “Sunny’ has been described by Steve Earle as “the ultimate break-up song”. Colvin once asked Earle, no stranger to breakups himself, why he thought so. His reply was simple: “because it’s a murder ballad”. Fair enough. An appropriate bit of Gallows’ humor there. 20 years after Lilith Fair, it’s nice to have Joan Osborne and Shawn Colvin still out there, walking on the wire.Joan Osborne Set (All songs by Bob Dylan except where noted by asterisk):High Water (for Charley Patton)Spanish Harlem IncidentDon’t Think Twice, It’s AlrightRainy Day WomenLeopard-Skin Pillbox HatBuckets of RainMasters of WarHighway 61 RevisitedOne of Us*Ring Them Bells (with Jack Petruzelli on piano)Tangled Up in Blue (with Shawn Colvin)Shawn Colvin Set:American TuneTroublePolaroidsShotgun Down the AvalancheWichita SkylineTougher Than the Rest (Bruce Springsteen cover)These Four WallsSonny Came HomeRicochet in TimeRound of BluesEncore: Ol’ 55 (Tom Waits cover, on piano) If I Were Brave (on piano) Diamond in the Rough Naïve Melody (This Must Be The Place) (Talking Heads cover) read more
US-based Kellogg Company, in Michigan, is expanding its capacity, after acquiring the assets of IndyBake Products LLC and Brownie Products, a privately- held contract manufacturing business.IndyBake and Brownie Products produce cracker, cookie and frozen dough items at two manufacturing sites, located in Seelyville, Indiana and Gardner, Illinois. These sites will now be integrated in Kellogg’s US Snacks manufacturing network. David Mackay, president and chief executive officer, Kellogg Company said: “This acquisition will help us expand our capacity to manufacture our snack products as well as enable new product innovations.”IndyBake Products and Brownie Products saw combined revenues of approximately $50 million in 2007. read more
The think tank said its study was the first study to analyse the nature of asset managers’ engagement with companies with regard to climate change, “highlighting the fact that the global leaders’ shareholdings and relationships give them huge leverage to drive corporate action to support the Paris Agreement”.O’Neill said previous research had either looked at asset managers’ portfolios or their voting behaviour.“I’ve never seen anyone take an eclectic look at the sum of the engagement activities of the asset managers,” he told IPE.2020 Stewardship Code as benchmarkThe organisation used the UK’s new Stewardship Code – which takes effect from January next year – to benchmark the quality of asset managers’ engagement.The engagement score that InfluenceMap assigned to asset managers has many components. The think tank defines engagement as referring to all investor actions undertaken to influence the management strategy of investee companies, including: questions at AGMs and other company meetings, comments in the media or public fora, and filing of shareholder resolutions and voting.A spokeswoman for BlackRock said the firm “put a priority on engaging with a company on addressing climate-related issues” and engaged with 370 companies globally on the topic of climate risk in the past two years. She also noted that BlackRock had the largest stewardship team in the world.O’Neill said leadership was shown by organisations such as Legal & General because they had “sophisticated frameworks and enforcement mechanisms to transition the behaviour of companies towards Paris alignment”.“BlackRock appears to engage with a large number of companies, pushing them on disclosure and climate risk management,” he said. “This is reflected in our online scoring of BlackRock, which was shared with them.”The BlackRock spokeswoman also pointed to the firm’s activities away from company engagement, saying it offered product choices to investors that wanted to avoid specific sectors, and invested heavily in research demonstrating the relationship between sustainability issues, risk and long-term value creation.Asset owners nextInfluenceMap said the methodology applied by its ‘FinanceMap’ team was developed in consultation with leading global asset managers, with O’Neill naming Hermes Investment Management, LGIM and Sarasin as having provided input.He also said the think tank “iterated” its approach with the wider market, having approached all of the asset managers it ended up identifying in its report and obtaining “a high level of feedback”. “We would have adapted the methodology if we thought we got something wrong,” said O’Neill.O’Neill also told IPE that InfluenceMap had input from individuals at asset owners such as the Church of England Pensions Board (CEPB) and Sweden’s AP7.AP7 brought the perspective of a universal owner, which was at the heart of InfluenceMap’s work, said O’Neill.In its report, the think tank said it recognised asset owners’ important and growing role in shaping portfolios and driving the corporate engagement process and would probably expand its finance project to cover asset owners.The Principles for Responsible Investment recently said institutional investors were not making the most of the powerful tool of stewardship, and has launched a programme to promote more positive investor action.InfluenceMap’s report can be found here. Large asset managers are “collectively failing” to do enough to drive corporate action in support of international climate goals, according to a think tank.According to UK-based InfluenceMap, of the world’s 15 largest asset managers only Allianz, Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) and UBS Asset Management “strongly and consistently” engage with investee companies about aligning their business models to meet the Paris Agreement goals.Some other European managers, like AXA, were not far behind in performance on climate engagement, the think tank wrote, while US firms such as BlackRock and Vanguard “call on companies to consider climate risks but do not drive behaviour change around climate models or policy lobbying”.Thomas O’Neill, research director of InfluenceMap, said: “If global asset managers wish to support the Paris Agreement and remain invested in the automotive, power and fossil fuel industries then they must engage robustly with companies in these sectors to accelerate their switch to low carbon technologies and ensure their policy lobbying supports climate targets.” read more