For blues guitarist Anders Osborne, 2012 was a milestone year, his Black Eye Galaxy album receiving universal critical acclaim. In Blues Revue magazine, the Reverend wrote, "with the life-affirming, cathartic screed that is Black Eye Galaxy, Osborne has delivered a genre-crossing masterwork that is both as subtle as a feather dancing on the wind and as devastating as a bulldozer in a china shop. Osborne shares his own personal journey out of the heart of darkness, masterfully jumping from blues to rock to jazz and back again in creating a work of art that redefines the meaning of the blues." Offbeat magazine said "the record is a focused and tuneful triumph. Osborne's gifts as a guitar player are significant. His voice is so emotionally intense it feels like an explosion. He writes with remarkable eloquence...this is the living definition of great art." Other publications were equally effusive in their praise for the album.
Osborne spent most of 2012 touring in support of Black Eye Galaxy, refusing to rest on his considerable critical laurels and instead picking up fans one electric show after another. Still, the guitarist found enough time to sit for a spell in a hometown studio and cut a few new tracks. On February 12, 2013 Alligator Records will release Osborne's Three Free Amigos, a six-song, semi-acoustic EP recorded in New Orleans. Osborne is backed on several songs by his road-tested band, bassist Carl Defrene and drummer Eric Bolivar, as well as guests like keyboardist Michael Burkhart, harp player Johnny Sansone, guitarist Billy Iuso, and vocalist Maggie Koerne.
Three Free Amigos shows Osborne experimenting with a number of roots-music styles, including the reggae-rock hybrid "Marmalade," the Bo Diddley-styled "Jealous Love," and a tale of love's healing power, "It's Gonna Be OK" (which had been previously recorded by singer Theresa Andersson). In a press release for the EP, Osborne says Three Free Amigos "is not what I usually do. I may never do it again. I wanted to keep it loose and give fans something different." In appreciation of his growing legion of fans, Three Free Amigos will be streamed online exclusively through the Relix magazine website beginning February 1, 2012.
Photo courtesy Alligator Records