Date: Saturday, April 9, 5 p.m.
Venue: Cathedral Square, downtown Mobile
Susto” is a Spanish word for a state in which the soul is separated from the body. Typically this separation is caused by fear and tumultuous anxiety. Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Justin Osbourne was moved by the term while studying Latin American cultures in Cuba. At the time, he says, he was plagued by a breakup, debt, family issues and changes in his perception of the world.
This period in Osbourne’s life caused him to slow down and begin composing songs, which eventually became his self-titled debut. Evocative lyrics were set to a haunting mix of Southern indie rock and country.
“I felt like I was experiencing a susto myself,” Osbourne said. “The songs on the album embodied that. I felt like it was a good title for the project. I named the record [Susto], and it turned into the band name.”
The band’s debut album was a collaborative home studio project led by Osbourne and his friends Johnny Delaware (guitar) and Charleston producer Wolfgang Zimmerman. While the album featured a full lineup, Osbourne said there was no official band. When it was released, the only constant member of Susto was Osbourne. He could recruit local musicians for regional shows, but touring posed a problem.
“When it came down to touring, I had to do it by myself,” Osbourne said. “One, there wasn’t enough money to fund the band, even if I had people. I also hadn’t found the right people available to make the live show happen.”
A year ago, Osbourne says, the issue resolved itself when Delaware found some time to tour, along with Corey Campbell, Marshall Hudson and Jenna Desmond. With the lineup in place, Susto is currently recording the band’s sophomore effort. Once again, Zimmerman is acting as producer.
The group is taking its time with this album, putting no constraints on its creation. After two years of production, this upcoming full-length release is almost finished, and Osbourne is excited to share.
“We’ve got 14 or 15 songs, and we’re wrapping those up and tying up loose ends,” Osbourne said. “We have all these songs that we’ve demo’d over the past two years up to speed. We’ve got a few new songs that we’re going to try to work out before we wrap up production on it. I’m feeling really good about it.”