Review: Anders Osborne – Peace

Posted on: Saturday, Jan 4, 2014

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Anders Osborne – Peace

(Alligator Records: ALCD 4956)

A slightly overdue review, but nonetheless, well merited for Anders Osborne’s third full-length release on Alligator Records, following on from the excellent “American Patchwork” in 2010 and the follow-up, “Black Eye Galaxy” in 2012. “Peace” follows the semi-acoustic EP, “Three Free Amigos”, and again sees the native Swede, now resident in New Orleans, on quite splendid form.

Osborne’s signing to Alligator came after a period out of music when personal demons were confronted and the songs over the last three releases have dealt with this period. Although initially known as a bluesman, his more recent work has developed both a tough guitar sound, coupled with gentler songs that address both family and personal issues and the world in general.

“Peace” was recorded at the legendary Dockside Studios in Maurice, Louisiana, and apart from Osborne on guitar, vocals and piano, the core band consists of Eric Bolivar and Brady Blade on drums, and Carl Dufrene on bass and vocals . . . together with some guest musicians and vocalists, including Susan Cowsill. The 11 songs here are all self-penned by Anders Osborne and are testimony to the quality of his writing.

The lengthy title cut, “Peace”, starts with a growling feedback guitar  intro, before easing into a gently loping fuzzy riff, reminiscent of the great Neil Young at his peak – the lyric reflecting the ‘peace’ he has been looking for in his life . . . it’s a quite marvellous first track, and is followed by “47”, that again deals with a specific time in his life, and is highlighted by more tough guitar and the grooving rhythm section.

“Let It Go” again rides on some fine guitar work – it’s a tale of dark days of substance abuse, with the band right ‘on the button’ again. He addresses the issue of violence in the hard rocking “Five Bullets”, about the shocking cost of life to guns in America. The pace is taken down for “Sentimental Times”, a reflective song with heartfelt vocal from Osborne, that reflects loss and more.

The quite lovely “Dream Girl” is a standout, with gorgeous picked acoustic guitar intro, before his electric kicks in, and the song flows beautifully; “Sarah Anne” has a gently, loping reggae groove to it; and with the closing “My Son”, with its CS&N feel, the three songs are a sort of trilogy to family and children . . . lovely!

“Peace” finds a songwriter, guitarist and singer at the top of his game, needless to say, it comes highly recommended.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.andersosborne.com

www.alligator.com

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