Between the potency of his incredibly deep songwriting, his soulful vocals and his subtle, expert guitar work, New Orleans’ Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. He is among the most original and visionary musicians writing and performing today. OffBeat magazine named Osborne as the Crescent City’s Best Roots Rock Artist and declared him the city’s Best Guitarist for two years straight. Guitar Player calls him “the poet laureate of Louisiana’s fertile roots music scene.”
Since the release of his 2010 Alligator Records debut, American Patchwork and his 2012 follow-up, Black Eye Galaxy, Osborne has earned hordes of new fans. He has toured virtually non-stop, either with his road-tested trio, as a solo artist, or as a guest with his countless musical admirers, including Toots And The Maytals, Stanton Moore, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Keb Mo, and The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh. He’s appeared on Galactic’s song “Dark Water” from their Ya-Ka-May album, and in 2011 produced and played on critically acclaimed albums by Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone and Mike Zito. In late 2012, Osborne recorded his new six-song EP, Three Free Amigos, a semi-acoustic collection cut in a relaxed, easygoing atmosphere, with friends joining him in various combinations, creating true musical magic. According to Osborne, the way this EP was recorded “is not what I usually do. I may never do it again. I wanted to keep it loose and give fans something different.”
Three Free Amigos, produced by Osborne and Warren Riker, features six Osborne originals, ranging from the road-diary reminiscence of the title track to the Bo Diddley-flavored “Jealous Love” to the reggae-rocking “Marmalade” to the warmly philosophical “We Move On.” Osborne examines love’s healing power and strength on “It’s Gonna Be OK” (previously recorded by Theresa Andersson) and offers profoundly simple advice in “Never Is A Real Long Time.” He is backed on some tracks by his road band—bassist Carl Dufrene[/bandmamber] and drummer Eric Bolivar—and on others he’s joined by friends Michael Burkhart on Hammond B3 organ, Johnny Sansone on harmonica and accordion, Billy Iuso on acoustic guitar and Maggie Koerne on background vocals. A few songs from the improvisational recording sessions even feature Osborne playing bass and drums.
Since his recording debut in 1989, Osborne has written virtually all of his own material and contributed memorable songs to a wide variety of artists. Two tunes co-written by Osborne appear on Keb Mo’s Grammy-winning 1999 release Slow Down. Country superstar Tim McGraw scored a #1 hit with Anders’ song “Watch The Wind Blow By.” Osborne’s compositions have been covered by artists as diverse as Brad Paisley, Tab Benoit, Jonny Lang and Kim Carnes. His song “What’s Going On Here” appeared in the 1996 feature film Fled, and Osborne, along with Ivan Neville, wrote and recorded the title track for the 2010 Kate Hudson film Earthbound. He can also be seen performing in a recent episode of HBO’s New Orleans-based drama Treme.
When Osborne planted his roots in New Orleans almost 30 years ago, he could not have realized that he would become one of the city’s favorite sons. He was born in Uddevalla, Sweden in 1966. With a love of music, a knack for the guitar and a serious case of wanderlust, Anders began traveling on his own at 16. He wrote constantly, soaking up life experience and honing his craft. In 1985, after landing in New York with only five dollars in his pocket, Osborne hitchhiked to New Orleans to meet up with a friend. “Once I got to New Orleans, everything I heard in my head—the music, the way people treated each other—was happening. I knew I was home.” He naturally absorbed the spirit of the Crescent City into his soul, as he was fully embraced by the city’s vibrant music community. “I just knew I was where I was supposed to be,” Osborne says.
Anders spent his first few years in New Orleans writing and developing his sound and style, all the while continuing to soak up the music of the city. He cut his first two albums for the independent New Orleans-based Rabadash Records in 1989 and 1993. The excitement surrounding those releases led to a major label deal with Sony’s Okeh imprint in 1995. Osborne released a series of critically-acclaimed albums on the Shanachie and MC labels before joining forces with Alligator Records.
With the 2010 release of American Patchwork, Osborne’s fame suddenly reached a whole new level. Critics went wild, with OffBeat saying, “The record is a focused and tuneful triumph. Osborne’s gifts as a guitar player are significant. His voice is so emotionally intense it feels like an explosion. He writes with remarkable eloquence...this is the living definition of great art.” 2012’s Black Eye Galaxy raised the bar even higher. USA Today said, “Black Eye Galaxy contains fiery anthems and dark confessional songs punctuated with incessant, penetrating guitar runs. It sounds like a cry of thanks from a rescued man.”
With Three Free Amigos, Anders Osborne shares his passion for life with his friends and fans. The melodic, accessible songs are lyrically deep, instantly memorable, and soulfully satisfying. With further touring ahead and a full album expected later in 2013, Anders Osborne has no plans to slow down.