Steamboat Springs As many victims of the Yampa Valley curse can attest, home is where your soul lives, and that could be worlds away from the place you were born.
For guitarist Anders Osborne, his soul always belonged in the bright, busy and expressive Southern city of New Orleans. But his birthplace in Sweden, where he lived until he was 16, will stay with him, as roots always do.
“I think there’s a Scandinavian melancholy in the temperament; I know it’s a pretty Northern thing,” the guitarist said about his music, a swampy and soulful but hard-driving rock. “I might have a little of that. There’s a tone of melancholy, not a sad way but as much in a love for that feeling, a passion for that sense of contemplation and solitude.”
But where the New Orleans comes in is through the intimacy and freedom he aims to express through his songs.
“I think more than anything, more than being a Mardi Gras celebration type of music — I do some of that — but I think I try to be honest in my songwriting. From that standpoint, I do my best to stay true to myself and express who I am.”
And there’s a little holiday coming up that embodies that honesty: While revelers are celebrating on Bourbon Street, Steamboat residents and visitors will be celebrating Mardi Gras this weekend as well during the third year of the annual Ski Mardi Gras celebration.
Headlining Saturday’s events will be a free show from Osborne at 3 p.m in Gondola Square.
Osborne commonly travels to Colorado, where he said crowds are enthusiastic, receptive and love to dance.
He said he played once in Steamboat Springs in the mid 1990s at a small bar he can’t remember. (“I don’t remember a lot of things from that time,” he laughed.)
He’ll be bringing with him drummer Eric Bolivar and bassist Carl Dufrene for the afternoon outdoor show.
And after two months in the studio where he was working on a stripped-down, collaborative EP called “Three Free Amigos,” Osborne said he couldn’t wait to break back out into the live realm.
“Sometimes, all I want to do is stay in the studio and produce guys and make records with people,” he said. “But there’s a charge, and there’s an energy and life force that happens when you play live that’s so amazing — the crowd and 1,000 people totally into it, dancing and smiling and doing this together.”
As for Mardi Gras, he said it’s absolutely possible to embody the spirit of New Orleans from thousands of miles away. It’s not about where you are; it’s about how you feel when you’re there.
“I think what we do is, you express yourself, you get uninhibited and let go,” he said. “I think the manifestation of all kinds of different parts of your personality comes up.”