reCAP :: Anders Osborne w/ Jackie Greene :: 2017.02.18
Anders Osborne’s music sounds like life’s torn-n-frayed edges: rage, regret, resignation, release, and, if you catch him on the right day where things have fallen into place and the narrators of his songs are looking up instead of down or back, beauty and contentment.
The more prolific he becomes — and Osborne’s been positively cranking out the new material in recent years — the more rounded his output: quietly picked folk or tender singer-songwriter confessionals balanced against the vicious guitar jams and moments of howl-at-the-moon blues-rock. An Anders Osborne show is a rollercoaster of emotions, and you know you’ve caught a good one when you leave things satisfied and spent.
In addition to the ever-deepening catalog, Osborne’s benefited from keeping his presentation format varied: solos here, duos there, full bands with elastic membership, and ongoing collaboration with everyone from the Southern Soul Assembly to Dead Feat. For this headlining show, he messed with it plenty: a full-band of regulars that included Eric McFadden on guitar, Brady Blade on drums and mainstay Carl Dufresne on bass, but variation that saw a strip-down to as few as two players and an expansion to as many as six, thanks to the evening’s special guest — Osborne pal Jackie Greene — and some additional sit-ins.
After a shimmering set from Assembly of Dust that also saw a Greene sit-in, Osborne, Dufresne, McFadden and Blade got to work as a roiling core, tackling Osborne tunes like the bushwhacking rocker “Different Drum" and a ferocious “On the Road to Charlie Parker.” The second half of the Osborne set saw the band expand, not only with Greene but also with old pal Jason Crosby -- there to play with Assembly of Dust but an occasional Osborne foil on keyboards -- lending the music the kind of depth and shading culled from experience with a who’s who of industry mainstays.
Osborne, McFadden, Greene and Crosby all proved as much willing ensemble contributors as they are talented lead and solo players — finding the musical conversations they wanted to have amongst each other versus as individual voices. Osborne slyly slipped a few of Greene’s own tunes into the set — “Gone Wandering” and a rollicking “Ball and Chain” (dovetailing into the Stones “Let It Bleed”) among them — and the ensemble steamed through “Love Is Taking Its Toll,” “Got Your Heart, “Echoes of My Sins,” “New Madrid,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and plenty of others. The showpiece was a 14-minute Grateful Dead burner — a protracted, hot-shuffle “New Speedway Boogie” that included buoyant jams on “Eyes of the World,” “The Other One” and other tunes. That kept the tone, and that tone didn’t leave. Even with songs like the calmly gorgeous “I’m Your Friend” — two acoustic guitars and a mandolin up there — the night felt amped and rich with drama. A rock ’n’ roll evening.