Anders Osborne Reflects on His Amigos
Photo by Dino Perrucci
Anders Osborne’s latest EP, Three Free Amigos, revels in the tradition of Southern rock, while also taking a quick detour to explore the Caribbean sounds of reggae music. This might be surprising coming from someone who originally hailed from the frigid north of Sweden—surprising, that is, if this weren’t Anders Osborne we’re talking about. Osborne has long since transplanted himself to New Orleans where his music has become steeped in the sounds of the region, even as he remains interested in the wider world. For the better part of three decades the celebrated bluesman has been building a reputation as one of the finest guitarists Louisiana has to offer, and these days he shows no signs of letting up. We spoke with Osborne about his band, festivals, playing in New Orleans and Three Free Amigos, which you can stream right now at Relix.com.
Let’s talk about this new EP Three Free Amigos. It wasn’t that long ago you released your studio album, Black Eyed Galaxy. Were these tunes written during the same sessions or did they come about a different way?
They came a little bit later. The whole idea of this was first, we wanted to do an acoustic version of Black Eyed Galaxy and then we thought, “Hmm, that’s pretty boring. Why don’t we put some cool covers on there?” And then, “Maybe I should write one or two.” In that process, we wrote four new songs and I took two really old recordings: one that’s never been recorded by me and one that’s on a 1999 release. And that’s the makeup of the record.
You got a lot of great musicians on this record like Billy Iuso, Carl Dufrene, Eric Bolivar. What did each of the guys in your band bring to the recording process?
Well usually they bring who they are, which is why we play together. There is not a lot of pre-thinking on my part. I just throw it out there and then we design it together. The reason that we are a band is because we like to see how things turn out. There’s not a lot that goes into actual production once the band is there. It’s already figured out by then and we just kind of play. They add tremendous amount by just being themselves and playing the way they do.
The track “Marmalade” on the new EP is pretty much a reggae tune. Was that a big stylistic change for you?
Yeah! It’s a little departure. I had just worked with Toots and the Maytals and I thought it’d be kind of fun. That song actually was written for Black Eyed Galaxy but didn’t fit in.
Earlier this year, you put some videos up on YouTube of you playing a bunch of acoustic songs from the new album. What inspired that idea and do you have plans to do something similar for the new EP?
It was actually my manager Alex who said, “Why don’t you walk around New Orleans and give people a little sample of the record? Just you acoustic.” That was all his idea. I called my friend Shaggy who works for the fan page. We just walked out and found a few nice spots around the city. And for the next record, if we do something, I reckon we’d do something like that but slightly different so that it feels fresh. I don’t have a specific idea right now.
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