Ash Wednesday Blues
New Orleans' Anders Osborne flashes razor-sharp slide work, rowdy vocals and a wild-man party-time attitude on Ash Wednesday Blues. The gifted singer-songwriter-guitarist wails in unrestrained fashion on raucous originals like "Stoned, Drunk & Naked," the powerful blues-rocker "Snake Bit Again" and the surging second line feature, "Aim Way High." His "Ho-Di-Ko-Di- Ya-La-Ma-La" captures the spirit of the Mardi Gras Indians and N'Awlins brass bands (courtesy of the sousaphone by the Dirty Dozen's Kirk Joseph, who grounds several of these tunes), while his introspective "Every Bit of Love" recalls Van Morrison's emotive warbling on Moondance. The countrified "Stuck on My Baby" features some neat banjo work and backing vocals from Keb' Mo'. Jonny Lang provides backing vocals on the funky "Soul Livin'" and Anders gets down and sleazy on the laid-back funk of "Improvise." Though he's from Sweden, it sounds like 10 years of living below sea level in the City That Care Forgot has left an indelible impression on Osborne, because he's knee-deep in the funk now.