N.M.O. magic: Anders Osborne, North Mississippi Allstars take mountain town to new heights

Down goes Anders: Bass player Carl Dufrane takes a peek to see what's going on with Osborne early in the 3 hour, 20 minute set at the Crystal Bay Casino on Saturday. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Down goes Anders: Bass player Carl Dufrane takes a peek to see what’s going on with Osborne early in the 3 hour, 20 minute set at the Crystal Bay Casino on Saturday.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Photographer’s notebook: The North Mississippi Allstars’ visceral Hill Country grooves are combined with Anders Osborne’s impassioned and intense jams for the album and the tour N.M.O. Incomparable guitarist Luther Dickinson was onstage for the nearly entire 200-minute set Saturday, April 4 (Muddy Waters birthday) in the Crystal Bay Casino, content for much of the show to be a sideman in an inspired ensemble.

Lightnin’ Malcolm played bass and sang some of his tunes with rhythm support of Cody Dickinson on drums to open the show. Brady Blade also took turns on the drums.

“Music is a magical thing where the unexplainable happens on a nightly basis,” Malcolm said beforehand. The magic began soon after Osborne appeared and during a guitar solo dropped to his knees and crawled toward the middle of the stage where he met up with Malcolm, who had reciprocated by crawling from the other side. They met up behind bass player Carl Dufrane, who kept the back beat flowing while occasionally turning his head to see what the hell was going on with Osborne, who finished the second portion of the multi-tiered set with Neil Young’s “Down By The River.”

The show continued to intensify. It was improvisational and jammy and in the spirit of the Grateful Dead. The following night the N.M.O. tour played at Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael.

When Osborne botched the words to “Friend of the Devil,” he apologized and said he was “practicing for tomorrow,” and proceeded to go through the verse again. The players hugged each other after some of the stirring songs.

The concert ascended to levels I’d never before reached. In a word, it was unfiltered happiness. I tried to capture the emotion of the show in these photos. -Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
NMO 6
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Lightnin’ Malcolm gets a lift from Anders Osborne. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Carl Dufrane and Anders Osborne
Carl Dufrane and Anders Osborne
Luther Dickinson plays for the Crown Room filled with fans and a blue orb on a magical night. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Luther Dickinson plays for the Crown Room filled with fans and a blue orb on a magical night.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Lightnin' Malcolm in the moment. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Lightnin’ Malcolm in the moment. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
NMO 1
Cody Dickinson on the washboard. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Cody Dickinson on the washboard.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
NMO 22
Luther Dickinson
Luther Dickinson
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NMO 12
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NMO 17
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Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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