Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

ANDERS OSBORNE

AMERICAN PATCHWORK

2010-05-13

Guitarist Anders Osborne’s new disc on Alligator marks the label’s first real venture outside straight blues and marks a new beginning for Osborne who has been a mainstay of the New Orleans music scene but seemed destined to be a well kept secret. The ten fantastic cuts featured here should serve both Alligator and Osborne very well. Joined by Robert Walter on keys, Pepper Keenan on guitars and Stanton Moore (Galactic) on drums, Osborne has crafted a disc that explores not only his rebirth from personal dark times but serves as a path forward for his musical peers who are still seeking direction in the aftermath of their enormous loss at the hands of hurricane Katrina. As he sees it, it’s ok to acknowledge the past but to move forward you have to refuse to be trapped by it. Kicking things off is the insistent, rocking, cautionary tale of self destruction, "On the Road to Charlie Parker", which Osborne knows plenty about as explored in gut wrenching detail on "Darkness at the Bottom", where his lyrics cut as deep as the raw edged guitar, and on "Echoes of my Sins" where he comes to the slow realization that he owes his existence and success to the support of others as much as to his own efforts. All isn’t perfect though: Even as Osborne emerges from his walk through hell he gives half a thought to simply disappearing and starting over with a clean slate rather than to face up to those burned along the way, "Acapulco". Fortunately, he has chosen to stick around and is looking beyond his own issues as evidenced by the heartfelt homage to a fallen friend, "Standing with Angels". While he is obviously pleased with his new found sense of peace and is even willing to risk it by placing his heart in another’s hands as evidenced by the buoyant reggae tinged "Got Your Heart" and the funky, popish "Meet Me In New Mexico", he resists the easy proselytizing of claiming he’s got all the answers and, in fact, rails angrily against those who dare to turn their opinions into religion, "Killing Each Other". With his creative guitar work propelling these tunes and a voice that occasionally recalls Don Henley but with more grit, Anders Osborne has delivered the disc that should make him known well outside the confines of New Orleans. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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