By Andy J. Gordon
Anders Osborne has been a prolific songwriter over the past few years. He opens his new album Peace with a song of the same title that contains a fuzzy riff very reminiscent of “Cortez the Killer,” a Neil Young classic that Osborne often tears up in his live shows. This new collection of eleven extremely listenable tunes follows up on the frequently brilliant singing and guitar playing Osborne demonstrated on 2011’s American Patchwork and 2012’s Black Eyed Galaxy, both on Alligator Records. With this new Alligator release, Osborne continues to grow as a musician and songwriter.
Osborne’s past struggles with addiction were the subject of some of his best, although darkest compositions. Now clean and happily entrenched in family life, the new songs seem to stick to a more positive theme. He describes peace as “light from darkness.” Osborne says his writing is coming from a brighter perspective. There are upbeat songs here about his wife, his son and his daughter. Several of the tracks feature scorching guitar solos and hypnotic melodies. “Let it Go” is one that really stands out and should be listened to with the volume turned way up.
Osborne co-produced the album with Warren Riker, whose resume includes work with metal bands Cathedral and Down as well as Wyclef Jean and Stephen Marley. No stranger to collaboration, Osborne called on some of his New Orleans all-star friends to play on the album, including keyboardist John Gros, bassist Carl Defrene and drummer Eric Bolivar. There are also backing vocals by Susan Cowsill and Justin Tocket. The results are a successful gumbo of blues infused rock, sentimental ballads, roots rock and a little reggae thrown in. With Peace, Osborne has delivered a very satisfying collection of songs. He has already earned the title of best songwriter and guitarist in New Orleans. Maybe this new release will put him in the running for Grammys and wider recognition of his immense talent.
You can purchase Osborne’s Peace through the usual on-line and local retail channels. Osborne is also touring in support of the album. Seeing him live is highly recommended. After a weekend in Houma, Louisiana as part of the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, Osborne will be at The El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on October 24, 2013. Osborne is sure to play some of his new tunes in addition to selections from his older material.