Anders and Vidacovich
June 13, 2006
BY JASON SONGE
I was trying to explain to a friend that had never seen Anders Osborne before what his sound was about. I got anxious as the band started to power up, so I gave a lazy description: blues and roots rock.
As Osborne's set with a bass-playing friend and drummer Johnny Vidacovich unfolded at d.b.a. Tuesday night, I realized Anders was way more blues and less roots than I had remembered. And, how did I forget to mention the funk? Like Jon Cleary but with a dirtier and more traditional blues approach.
Anders is that armchair philosopher of love turned into tragedy. He's either telling you how down in the dumps he is, or he's offering some sort of kick-in-the-ass wisdom to get you going after a letdown. It's wonderful how soulful Osborne gets during a live performance. His body is loose, and it's like he lets the groove continually wash through him until he's unconsciously mumbling his words in emotion.
Osborne is a nimble and talented guitar player. His music is most pleasurable when he uses the slide, but I might say that for any slide user. It's easily one of the coolest guitar tools ever.
Though this gig was billed as the "Johnny Vidacovich Duo," the master drummer took a backseat and serviced Osborne's songs instead of soloing or singing. His playing was still colorful, though. How could it not be? Vidacovich followed his instinctual muse while somehow making the beat apparent. Now I'm making him seem obtuse. Vidacovich played it straight, but he also added his distinct brand of color. His confidence and relaxed nature during gigs allows him to stress silence and give the music room to breathe, all the while attemtping beats that most drummers wouldn't even try, either for lack of ability or just for the trap of conventional thinking.
P.S. Check out Osborne's cover of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" on The Blues White Album.