Anders Osborne, Ash Wednesday Blues

John Swenson

By John Swenson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Ash Wednesday Blues

Anders Osborne

Swedish-born Anders Osborne completed his American transformation with the definitive contemporary New Orleans song cycle Ash Wednesday Blues. Having detailed the breakup of his relationship with Theresa Andersson and his battles with substance abuse on the painfully explicit Living Room — which marked a quantum jump in his songwriting — Osbourne impressively turned around and wrote an album's worth of songs about joy and renewal with Ash Wednesday Blues (the title track is a particularly powerful metaphor for the difficulty of maintaining a life of sobriety). Osborne's band — Tim Green on tenor sax, Kirk Joseph on sousaphone and Kevin O'Day on drums — is augmented by Davell Crawford on keyboards and vocals and Cyril Neville on percussion, while Keb 'Mo 'and Jonny Lang turn in cameo shots. Crawford's keyboard work is choice, particularly on "Kingdom Come." "Stoned, Drunk and Naked," powered by Osbourne's funk guitar work, is a party anthem, while the soulful "Stuck On My Baby" and "Soul Livin'" are the unmistakable product of an artist finally at peace in his world.