Anders Osborne’s first effort for Alligator has a “tougher” feel. In the past, one may have mistaken him for a white soul singer, but here he looks (with beard and long hair) and sounds more like a rocker who has spent years on the road.
The music is soulful and heartfelt, but the change is evident from the beginning, with “On The Road to Charlie Parker,” with its big, fat guitar lick – loud and fuzz-toned – serving as the basis for the song. The melodic chorus and stomping solo back up the gritty vocals featured on every cut.
The guitar playing of Osborne and Pepper Kennan serves as the basis of every song, with production being more dense than his past work; “Darkness at the Bottom” has a tough lick and menacing lyric. “Love is Taking its Toll” is a loud, funky rock tune with biting, nasty slide from Osborne; his pop and soul side surfaces on cuts like “Acapulco,” with
a fine descending chord run and more soulful slide. “Meet Me in New Mexico” has great musical and lyrical hooks held together by interacting guitars.
While this record is a bit different for Osborne, it also shows a bit of a shift for Alligator. While they certainly still release plenty of blues records, this one shows they’re expanding their horizons.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Aug. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.