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New Orleans-based musician Anders Osborne works hard in the Big Easy

Lindsay Kucera

There are many things we love about New Orleans. The food, the vibrant night life, the strange mythology, the music. It's a little bit Jazz Age, a little bit voodoo, a little bit French sensibility, a little bit Southern drawl. No place in the world is celebrated quite like The Big Easy. It's a city full of treasures.

One such treasure is Anders Osborne. The Swedish-born guitar hero has been a mainstay of the Louisiana roots music scene almost since he moved in. Osborne's voice, with a gravelly baritone and surprising range, and his remarkable guitar skills create the kind of full-bodied soul most musicians can only wish for.

Besides playing locally in Louisiana, Osborne performs at numerous festivals, spending about two-thirds of the year on tour. He regularly performs and collaborates with other big blues and rock names. Recently Osborne toured with Toots and the Maytals and said he is also looking forward to finishing up blues harmonica player extraordinaire Johnny Sansone's newest album. (Sansone's 2011 album "The Lord Is Waiting and The Devil Is Too," which Osborne played on and produced as well, garnered four nominations and one award at The Blues Music Awards last year.)

Osborne also mentioned via email that he is collaborating with drummer Brady Blade on a new project, but stayed mum on what it might be, assuring only that it "will be awesome."

Osborne is coming to Alaska fresh off the heels of his newly released experimental EP "Three Free Amigos," which proved that Osborne is not one to be boxed into one category. The 25-minute set jumps from a big, almost twangy country sound in the title track, to pure reggae in "Marmalade," to a folksy remake of "Never Is a Real Long Time" from Osborne's 1999 release "Living Room." In under half an hour, Osborne and his band run the gamut, but it's not forced variety. The EP progresses organically, and it's entirely enjoyable.

Already he is at work on a new studio album. Anders Hester, one of Osborne's managers with Red Light Management, said that Osborne has been keeping his plans for the new album pretty close to the chest and doing things a little differently than in the past.

"The new album feels super fresh to me," Osborne wrote in an email. "I've tried to break my routine of how I usually approach a session. Warren Riker (co-producer/engineer) and I wanted the songs to develop in the studio a little more. Usually I bring them in completely finished. This gives us a chance to sculpt the lyrics hand in hand with the song."

While he spends most of the year on the road, he's always drawn back to his adopted home.

"Louisiana is home, " he said. "People are filled with a rare kind of love and I find myself living in the moment there more than anywhere else."

 


By Lindsay Kucera
Daily News correspondent