REVIEW: Louisiana Blues Meets California Cool on ‘Buddha and the Blues’ by Anders Osborne


Anders Osborne is an artist that is known to explore the world of blues in a variety of ways. The blues aspect of Buddha and the Blues is not quite as lowdown or overt as on Ash Wednesday Blues, but it still plays a prominent part on the album. In addition, Osborne is backed by an all-star band featuring Waddy Wachtel (guitar), Bob Glaub (bass), Benmont Tench (keyboards), Windy Wagner (backing vocals), and Chad Cromwell (drums).

The first couple verses in “Alone” have a real coffeeshop feel with Osborne strumming an acoustic and singing. About halfway through the song, the tempo and volume both pick up with some fuzzy guitar and a beat that gets the toes tapping.

The coffeeshop feel is also prevalent in “Fields of Honey,” a song that features vocals, acoustic guitar, and a minimal shuffling beat that sounds like it’s played with brushes.

The blues sounds don’t really rise to the top until the third song “Running” a song that features some good slide guitar especially in the instrumental break. “Smoke and Mirrors” also features some slide guitar whose sound is almost equal parts Bakersfield and blues.

You could say that not a lot of guitarists sound like Mark Knopfler, and you’d be right. That being said, the clean guitar sounds in “Escape” have a strong similarity to Knopfler. In addition to some good, clean guitar sounds, this song also has some lyrics that grab the attention. The most notable line is one that a lot of people can identify with: “Just working for money and slowly it steals all your spark.”

The groovy, soulful sounds in “Traveling with Friends” are similar to JJ Grey and Mofro. This is such an easygoing and groovy song that it might make you want to get on the road with some friends.

Buddha and the Blues is the perfect title for this album. Some of the songs are peaceful and mellow acoustic songs that would fit perfectly with the coffeeshop crowd. Other songs lean more toward blues rock complete. The combination makes for an album that is utterly enjoyable. Buddha and the Blues (Back on Dumaine Records) will be available everywhere on April 26. Order your copy here:

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