Anders Osborne at River Street Jazz Café
Both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Aerosmith have said that “Life is a journey, not a destination.” For Anders Osborne, it took a series of journeys to find his place in this world; and that place is New Orleans. The award-winning New Orleans guitarist/vocalist/songwriter will celebrate the release of his new CD, Black Eye Galaxy, with a live performance at The River Street Jazz Café in Plains on Friday, Aug. 31. Tickets are $15 advance and $25 on the day of the show.
Born in Uddevalla, Sweden, Anders started playing guitar as a teenager while listening to artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jackson Browne and the blues of Robert Johnson. He began traveling on his own at age 16, hitchhiking across Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, earning money by doing odd jobs and performing on the street or in bars. “I was young and things were moving fast,” Osborne said. “I went from job to job. You meet people doing a similar thing and you end up finding a job somewhere, and then that runs out. You go to the harvest season somewhere else and you keep doing it. You kinda trek along and before you know it, a few years have passed.”
In 1985, Osborne landed in New York with $5 in his pocket and hitchhiked his way to New Orleans. He has lived there ever since, and the city has not only embraced him as one of their own, but has helped shape his sound.
“It felt good; comfortable,” Osborne said. “I enjoyed the people. They were living in the moment, non-judgmental and open-minded. It still is a very good place. It’s been everything. I grew up there since my teenage years and I listened to it. There are a lot of great musicians to learn from down there. There are a lot of good players and good traditions that get passed on. You learn from your mentor’s style and your mentor brings you in and you pass it on.”
Osborne’s latest record, Black Eye Galaxy, ranges from heavy, electric rock to powerful acoustic numbers. His lyrics deal with all aspects of his life; a musician, traveler, immigrant, recovering drug addict, and as a husband and father. Osborne talked about playing these personal songs in front of audiences. “It can be intense. Some of the songs are not something I play every night. They are difficult to play. It depends on my mood. Some nights it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s different when you are performer. It is part of your nature and it is part of your calling to connect these things between the audience and yourself and whatever beliefs and feelings you have in life.”
For those people who may not be familiar with Osborne’s live show, he plans on bringing his best to the Jazz Café stage. “It’s going to be rockin’,” Osborne said. “We play pretty tough and hard. We like to improvise and it’s a little bit of a journey. We also like to break it down and make it acoustic; play some sweet ballads and some beautiful songs. But overall, for a couple of hours, it’s a journey.”
— tom graham
Anders Osborne performs at The River Street Jazz Café in Plains Friday, Aug. 31 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. Visit www.riverstreetjazzcafe.com for more information.