|Photo credit: John McCusker/The Times-Picayune|
When you're at sea sometimes it feels like the sun never sets. This was the apparent case for blues musician Anders Osborne, fresh off a jam band cruise from the previous week, as he continued to soak up the musical sunshine.
"They had this boat going in the Caribbean with a bunch of people playing and another big slew of people dancing," Anders said with a laugh from his home in New Orleans.
To know the very essence of Osborne is to know the cruise must have been a spectacle of styles. The Osborne view of the jam band scene on the boat included funk, roots rock, and electronica.
"It was quite the hodge-podge," Osborne said of the various bands. "But mostly it's the after-life of the Grateful Dead following. Only now the new generation is jumping on board. I got into playing those crowds in the early 90s with folks like Joan Osborne, Rusted Root, and The Radiators."
For artists like Anders Osborne defining oneself in the crowded jam band landscape can be tricky. When you talk stylistic presentation, Osborne likes the combination of improvisational music skills and a wallop of showmanship.
"People respond to my improvisation when I do my full band," Osborne said. "We rock and create on the spot. I grew up around a lot of jazz. But at the same time I came up with Neil Young and the hard driving rock and roll shows of the day."
One form of respect he wakes up to everyday is the diversity of artists who recorded his songs: Tim McGraw, Tab Benoit, Kim Carnes. What is it about Osborne's compositions that make them so worthy?
"I have never directly heard any comments from these people who have cut them," Anders said. "The decision to record is a very personal one. It varies. If you're not a songwriter you receive a bunch of songs and you go through them with your producer. The timing of everything just has to work out. You have to be in a certain place, maybe going through a divorce or something. Songs relating to that are more natural to sing. I don't think there's a method to this madness. Sometimes as a writer I get lucky."
Originally from Sweden, Anders Osborne says he was sixteen years old "full of energy and displeased with my position in life" when he left home. Osborne started to hitchhike, and--over the course of about three years--ended up in Northern Africa and Egypt.
"I met someone from New Orleans on the way and eventually made it down here," Osborne said from his home of twenty-seven years on The Ridge (original high point above sea level) in New Orleans. "It felt like home so I decided to stay here."
Keb' Mo' and his band with Anders Osborne, 7pm, Saturday at the Intersection.
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