If you think they don’t make guitar heroes like they used to, you’ll want to be at the City Winery on Wednesday when Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene join forces.
Firebrand New Orleans guitarist Osborne and ex-Black Crowes member Greene have been playing together on and off since both were part of Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh’s solo band. Though Wednesday’s shows are in acoustic duo format, you still can expect plenty of six-string interplay.
“We alternate songs onstage. He plays one and I play one,” Osborne said last week. “We’ve developed a way to play with each other that feels pretty organic. He and I are cut from the same cloth. We’re both inspired by the same original folk-rock songwriters — Neil Young, Dylan, Joni Mitchell. And we both like to improvise, with him coming from that Grateful Dead background. The common ground is that we both love playing, so a song isn’t just three minutes and then we’re done. We like to stretch them out and see if we can take them to a few different places.”
As a guitarist, Osborne can do gritty Crescent City rock with the best. As a songwriter, he’s put a lot of his personal struggles on the line. A few years ago, he came out of a long stretch of addiction and channeled his recovery into his hardest-hitting and best-known albums, beginning with “American Patchwork” in 2010. This week, he’ll be previewing a forthcoming disc, “Deep Impression,” which again veers into personal territory.
“The album’s about depression,” he said. “It gets pretty heavy, but you know, sometimes the songs on a record will just choose themselves. It has a mix of old soul stylings and some more extended ambient stuff. I personally never felt I was good enough to be a guitar hero, though I love expressing myself on guitar. But this time, I wasn’t feeling any of those big guitar-ridden teenaged angst songs. Those all came out just after recovery. Lately, the songs come more from the feeling of being middle-aged, and that takes a different kind of sound. By writing about depression, I got a chance to talk about it with myself. Some of it helps, and some of it brings on more questions.”
Osborne also has been busy with an organization he founded, Send Me a Friend, which helps musicians in recovery get back to their livelihood, including club gigs where the alcohol still flows.
“What I’d like to see is a natural merging of people who like to drink when they’re out having a good time and people who choose not to. I’d like to see great coffee stations and great juice bars. Getting people like me to feel they can still be included — that would be the long-term vision.”
Anders Osborne & Jackie Greene, “An Acoustic Evening Together,” at City Winery, Wednesday. Show at 7 p.m. sold out. Second show at 10 p.m. Tickets: $28-$42; citywinery.com....Read more