Anders Osborne is a musician that spends extraordinary amounts of time on the road. One of the hardest working men in the industry, Osborne never seems to slow down. And for someone who is on tour so often, he never seems to tire or fail to give each performance his all.
I saw Anders and his band at the Warehouse at the Fairfield Theater Company on 8/18, which is a frequent stop for Osborne with and without his full band. This gem of a local venue attracts some of the best live music in the industry . It’s a must for anyone living in Fairfield County. Currently on the road to support his beautiful new release, “Flower Box”, this soulful singer, guitarist and songwriter from New Orleans did not disappoint.
Most of the bands I cover have very loyal followings. Anders Osborne fans are beyond loyal. I can only compare them to fans of Phish and The Dead (Osborne does play with Phil Lesh quite often). These people know their stuff. I spoke with dozens of fans that follow Anders all over the East coast. They know each other and even the band members. Osborne himself welcomes them with real affection and kindness. This is a man who really likes his fans and is not above hanging out with them. There is no sense of superiority with anyone in the band. It’s really refreshing to see.
I had never seen Osborne or his band live before. And while I enjoy listening to his large and varied repertoire quite often, this man has to be seen live to fully understand his talent. He simply glows in front of a live audience. Bassist Carl Dufrene and guitarist Eric McFadden are equally comfortable with the crowd. They are engaging with each other and the audience and they play their asses off. Dufrene, a longtime band member, and Osborne have an undeniable chemistry. What I found more interesting was the amazing dynamic between McFadden , an incredibly good lead guitarist in his own right, and Osborne. Take note, some of the territorial and competitive press members I had to come across at the show. If these guys can check their egos at the door and respect each other enough to let all of the music shine equally, we should all be able to. There was no such thing as hogging the spotlight, no matter whose name was on the bill as a headliner.
Osborne’s songs are dripping with southern blues, distortion pedals and fuzz boxes. His gritty voice is filled with a passion that you believe in. This man feels his beautifully crafted lyrics. And because of this, he pulls in the crowd in a way that is real and true. We know he means what he’s singing about. That lends itself to a concert experience far removed from the norm. The audience feels like they are part of the entire experience, not just passive spectators. The band played gorgeous tracks from his new album, but also delved into decades old beauties that his fans were hoping to hear. From bluesy and guitar riff laden classics like On The Road To Charlie Parker, new beauties like Flower Box , to reggae inspired dance the night away kinds of jams such as Wind, it was a night of music and magic. Every time I looked around at the faces in the crowd I witnessed joy. And people dancing. And happiness that was real and true. Isn’t that what music is all about?
Anders will be playing the Blues, Views and BBQ Festival In Westport, CT on September 3. Tickets are available.