Crescent City troubadour embraced as native son
New Orleans listeners can be a jaded lot, living in the music-lovers1 paradise that they do. The same city that spawned the hardcore funk of the Meters, the barrel-house blues and hoodoo vibe of Dr. John and the brass stomp of the Rebirth Brass Band, can be hard on outsiders. To be an imposter is to be ignored.But Anders Osborne, Swedish transplant, has encountered no such difficulties. He has been embraced as a native son, because he1s the real deal. Sure, he plays the blues, but he1s creating them, too. His rootsy approach to the slide guitar complements his husky-voiced lyrics, and his songs chronicle his own roller coaster of a life.His 2001 release, 3Ash Wednesday Blues, runs the stylistic gamut from the exuberant 3Ho-Di-Do-Di-Ya-La-Ma-Ma to the pensive title track. His core band of Kevin O1Day (drums), Tim Green (sax) and Kirk Joseph (sousaphone) is augmented by Davell Crawford (organ, piano), Cyril Neville (percussion) and Keb1Mo (guitar, banjo).Earning a four-star rating from The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide,Osborne has been likened to Little Feat frontman Lowell George by critics at New Orleans1 Times-Picayune and Offbeat.3Ash Wednesday Blues is Osborne1s first sober album. He didn1t lose his edge in the clean-up process; instead, he seems to have refined it. With well articulated joy, anger, contentment and yearning, Osborne1s songs have depth. 3Sad Anders is gone. One of his best accomplishments is writing about happiness without being corny or trite.Osborne exudes the vibes of the Mississippi Delta, but his first language was Swedish. As a child in Sweden, Osborne listened to African and American roots music on the late-night radio. His father was a drummer who loved Elvis, Fats Domino, Cannonball Adderly and Charlie Parker. Only later would he realize how much his father1s music affected him.He moved to New Orleans in 1990 and signed with Sony1s Okeh label in 1995 after releasing two independent CDs. 3Ash Wednesday Blues marks his seventh album. His 1994 album, 3Break the Chain, released on the Rabadash label and difficult to find, has just been re-released on the Shanachie label. On it, Osborne combines elements of funk, blues, rock and honky tonk.Anders Osborne performs tonight at Half Moon Saloon in West Vail at 10 p.m. Call 476-4314 for more information.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.
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