Review: Anders Osborne – Picasso’s Villa


Anders Osborne - Picasso's Villa

Anders Osborne – Picasso’s Villa
Format: CD – Vinyl LP – Digital / Label: Missing Piece Group
Release: 2024

Text: Bert van Kessel

The veteran New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Anders Osborne has released his 17th album. The Grateful Dead feel of this well-crafted album takes us back to the 1970s, with Neil Young and Jackson Browne hovering over the tracks continually.

His backing band, too, is firmly rooted in the seventies. It consists of Waddy Wachtel (guitars) Bob Glaub (bass), and his old buddy Chad Cromwell on drums and percussion; the latter also produced the album and made it sound great throughout.

New Orleans takes centre-stage on the lovely acoustic opening track, Dark Decatur Love, in which Osborne ( truly sounding like a young Jackson Browne) goes back to his early twenties when the young Swede started living in the French Quarter. Johnny Sansone contributes some tasteful harmonica and there are inspired background vocals.

It is followed by Reckless Heart, a smooth Springsteen-esque rocker with Waddy Wachtel adding some searing fretwork. Real Good Dirt and To Live are vintage Crazy Horse.

The title track Picasso’s Villa is an exciting, positive up tempo number, featuring Ivan Neville’s B3 organ and Gina Forsyth’s driving fiddle. Bewildered is a passionate socio-economic survey of the past forty years in a world full of turmoil.

Album closer Le Grande Zombie is Osborne’s ode to New Orleans legend Dr. John. He skilfully incorporates some lyrics from Mac’s classic I Walk on Guilded Splinters. The funky track boasts an excellent B3 from Ivan Neville and there are three enthusiastic horn players plus an impressive contribution from The Budapest Strings.

With this inspired and varied, very listenable album Anders Osborne once again confirms his status of pre-eminent singer/songwriter.

01. Dark Decatur Love
02. Reckless Heart
03. Real Good Dirt
04. Picasso’s Villa
05. Returning To My Bones
06. Bewildered
07. To Live
08. Le Grande Zombie