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eTown: Anders Osborne / Willi Carlisle

This week in eTown, we see the return of venerable singer-songwriter Anders Osborne from New Orleans and the eTown debut of fresh-faced folk artist Willi Carlisle from the Ozarks. In addition, Nick has a chat with the subjects and co-directors of the film Porcelain War about the harsh realities of the war in Ukraine. 


Anders Osborne

Anders Osborne was born in 1966 in Uddevalla, Sweden and at a young age knew that he spoke the language of music and poetry well. He fell in love with everything from Vivaldi, Chopin and Black Sabbath to Robert Johnson, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. “Blues connected everything together for me,” Osborne recalls. “The early rock, the R&B, the jazz, the singer-songwriters. Blues was like a thread running through everything.” Osborne travelled around Europe in his late teens and in 1986, when he was nineteen years old, he visited New Orleans. He fell in love with the city, and never left.

After living and performing there for almost four decades Osborne has become a fixture of the New Orleans musical community. Since his recording debut in 1989, Osborne has written virtually all of his own material and contributed memorable songs to a wide variety of artists. His most recent album Picasso’s Villa was released on April 26th.

Willi Carlisle

For musician Willi Carlisle, singing is healing. And by singing together, he believes we can begin to reckon with the inevitability of human suffering and grow in love. On his latest album, Critterland, Carlisle invites audiences to join him: “If we allow ourselves to sing together, there’s a release of sadness, maybe even a communal one. And so for me personally, singing, like the literal act of thinking through suffering, is really freeing,” he says.

Carlisle was raised in the Midwestern plains and now resides in the Ozarks, where he moved, initally, to teach poetry. He is a folksinger, theatre-artist, and writer. A multi-instrumentalist, skilled on banjo, fiddle, guitar, accordion, bones, and harmonica, Willi creates both conventional and experimental works that blend living folklore with social and civic practice. Above all, Willi’s work seeks to cultivate and preserve traditional ways of knowing, inspire audiences to sing and dance, and to grow love and queer acceptance in rural and traditional communities.

Porcelain War

Porcelain War is a 2024 documentary film co-directed by Leontyev and Bellomo, with extraordinary footage from first-time cinematographer Andrey Stefanov. Amidst the chaos and destruction of the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, three artists defiantly find inspiration and beauty as they defend their culture and their country. In a war waged by professional soldiers against ordinary civilians, Slava Leontyev, Anya Stasenko, and Andrey Stefanov choose to stay behind, armed with their art, their cameras, and, for the first time in their lives, their guns. Porcelain War is the winner of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Grand Jury Prize.