Years before they climbed the country charts with songs like “Stay a Little Longer” and “Rum,” the Brothers Osborne grew up in Deale, Maryland, a small fishing town on the Atlantic seaboard. It was a cozy place, filled with blue-collar workers who made their living on the water. During the weekends, many of those workers would head over to the Osborne household, where a series of loose, all-night jam sessions filled the Maryland air with the sounds of Bob Seger, Hank Williams, Tom Petty and George Jones.
The Osborne siblings strummed their first chords during those jam sessions. From the very start, TJ Osborne was the brother with the voice. He sang in a thick, low baritone, crooning like Johnny Cash long before he was even old enough to drive. Older brother John, on the other hand, was the family’s guitar shredder, his fingers capable of down-home bluegrass licks, arena-worthy rock riffs, country twang, and everything in between. Combined, the two Osbornes could play everything from traditional country music to rock & roll, creating a broad, full-bodied sound that would eventually fill the 11 songs on their major-label debut, Pawn Shop.
Like its title suggests, Pawn Shop offers a little bit of everything. There’s bluesy slide guitar, country duets, southern rock solos, harmonies, and plenty of groove. The hooks are big, the guitars are loud, and the songs — every last one of them co-written by the Osbornes, who reached out to award-winning songwriters like Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman for help — introduce a duo whose music bridges the gap between the mainstream and the alternative world. Some songs were written at home in Nashville, while others came together on the road, where the guys spent several years headlining their own club shows, touring the country with Darius Rucker, and playing some of the biggest arenas in America with fellow rule-breaker Eric Church.
“Most duos are built on singing,” says TJ. “But John is an incredible guitar player, and this band is built on me singing and John playing guitar. It gives us two parallels that work nicely together.”
“It’s like an old-school rock approach,” adds John, who cites classic bands like Aerosmith and the Allman Brothers as influences on the duo’s dynamic. “Groups like that always had the lead singer as well as the sideman guitar player. That’s what we’re going for, too. We’re carving our own path in country music.”
That unique path has already led the band toward the upper half of the country charts. “Rum” got them there first, mixing the feel-good sunshine of a beach tune with a far more realistic storyline. There’s no actual beach in “Rum,” after all. Instead, Brothers Osborne turn the song into a tribute to the simple pleasures that their Maryland hometown offers: friends, good weather, and the occasional drink. They even filmed the song’s music video in Deale, filling the clip with footage of friends, relatives, and locals.
“Most people we grew up with don’t go to these beautiful beaches,” says TJ. “They can’t afford to do it. They don’t have the time for it. What we’re most familiar with is people going to the local bars and hanging out with each other.” John adds, “We tried to have the biggest time possible with what little we had. ‘Rum’ explains that.” The brothers agree, “We had to say it from our own perspective.”
A similar theme runs throughout “Dirt Rich” and “Pawn Shop,” two songs that stress the importance of appreciating what you’ve got. Pawn Shop dishes up plenty of love songs, too, from “Loving Me Back” — an old-school country duet featuring vocals from Lee Ann Womack — to “Stay a Little Longer,” the band’s biggest hit to date. While a three-minute guitar solo brings “Stay a Little Longer” to an epic, anthemic close, Brothers Osborne also devote time to more laid-back songs, from the nostalgic California country of “21 Summer” to the 420-friendly “Greener Pastures.”
Brothers Osborne, who co-produced the album with Jay Joyce (the award-winning producer behind Little Big Town’s Painkiller, Eric Church’s The OutsidersStoryteller), recorded most of Pawn Shop during breaks in their busy touring schedule, using members of their own touring band rather than session musicians from the Nashville community. The result is an album that’s stamped with the unmistakable mark of a band. It doesn’t sound like two singers, flanked by anonymous players. Instead, it sounds like a group of road warriors who’ve spent years sharing bus seats and hotel rooms, creating the sort of chemistry that can’t be faked. Pawn Shop is both raw and real, and Brothers Osborne — who, years after those household jam sessions in Deale, now have a handful of nationwide tours under their belts, songs on the charts, and a career on the rise — are no longer a family secret.
Brothers Osborne will release a live album this fall. Based on their sold-out three-night stand at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium earlier this year, the duo recorded their performances to put together an amazing collection of live songs.
“The Ryman shows we did, we recorded them to put out our first live album,” says TJ Osborne. “So, we’ll be putting it out in the fall. We’ll release the track listing pretty soon.”
Many of their fans have seen multiple shows and not one performance is the exact same. “We’re a band. We play like a band and certain songs we want to go out there, we want it to be a little bit different, because if you just wanted to hear it like the record, then stay home and listen to the record. So, we want to make it special and that gives us one chance every night to really change it up and flip it over on its head,” says John Osborne. “We’ve had people who’ve come to 10, 20, 50, 60, 70 shows, and I think that’s why they keep coming back, because they do get a bit of variation. And honestly for us, it’s good for our soul, it’s good for our integrity, just to get out there, keep it different, keep it spicy, otherwise it’ll just get stagnant.”
The guys, who are making their way up the country charts with “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You),” are currently in the U-K for a couple of shows before coming back to North America with a pair of shows in Minnesota (June 21st and 22nd). Go to brothersosborne.com for more tour dates.
Brothers Osborne (live album) OC: …pretty soon. :09
“The Ryman shows we did, we recorded them to put out our first live album. So, we’ll be putting it out in the fall. We’ll release the track listing pretty soon.”
Brothers Osborne (live album from the Ryman) OC: …stagnant. :53
“We’re a band. We play like a band and certain songs we want to go out there, we want it to be a little bit different, because if you just wanted to hear it like the record, then stay home and listen to the record. So, we want to make it special and that gives us one chance every night to really change it up and flip it over on its head. We’ve spent our entire lives practicing at becoming better at improvising, the last thing we want we want to do is be great at improvising and then not get to do it and our musicians on stage are phenomenal sowe want to give the chance to just looking great. And every night some are better than other and that’s okay. If it wasn’t as good one night, that’s actually what makes it special because it’s not the same damn thing every night. And we’ve had people who’ve come to 10, 20, 50, 60, 70 shows, and I think that’s why they keep coming back, because they do get a bit of variation. And honestly for us, it’s good for our soul, it’s good for our integrity, just to get out there, keep it different, keep it spicy, otherwise it’ll just get stagnant.”
In addition to all of the amazing performances at this year’s CMA Music Fest, there were also some surprise appearances. Carrie Underwood performed at Nissan Stadium (home to the Tennessee Titans) and during her set, she brought out the legendary Joan Jett to perform a medley of the rocker’s hits (“I Hate Myself for Loving You,” “Bad Reputation,” “Crimson and Clover”).
Keith Urban surprised the crowd on Saturday night to join Billy Ray Cyrus and L’il Nas X at the Stadium to perform the No. 1 song in the nation, “Old Town Road.”
Eric Church hit the stage at Nissan Stadium on Friday (June 7th) accompanied by his acoustic guitar to perform a 30-minute medley of several of his hits, including “Drink in My Hand,” “Mr. Misunderstood,” “Talladega,” “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Round Here Buzz” and many more.
Jon Pardi surprised the Nissan Stadium crowd during Thomas Rhett‘s set to perform “Beer Can’t Fix” from TR’s new album, Center Point Road complete with a koozie-covered beer.
On Thursday, legendary duo Brooks & Dunn surprised the audience when they stepped onstage during Brothers Osborne‘s set to perform “Hard Workin’ Man,” which is featured on B&D’s new Reboot album. TJ and John also brought up their friend Ashley McBryde to perform her cut on the duo’s album of their huge hit, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” also featured on Reboot.
Carrie Underwood (CMA Fest-Joan Jett) OC: …off on me. :25
“I get to sing with Joan Jett, guys! Whooooo! (I’m) super excited. I feel like we’ve had connections and bumped into each other in various places, and the stars just aligned. It was kind of like, ‘What if Joan Jett came to CMA Fest?’ ‘Well, let’s ask her.’ So, she’s here. The coolness has arrived, and I’m hoping some of it rubs off on me.”
Carrie Underwood (CMA Fest-Joan Jett) 2 OC: …sing with me. :25
“Just hearing her songs on the radio and the more I got to know and see just how much of a trailblazer she was for, not just women in her genre of music, but women in music in general…I mean, I’m a fan on every level — personally, professionally, musically and honored that she’s heard my name before and agreed to come sing with me.”
Keith Urban (CMA Fest-Old Town Road) OC: …with him last night. :23
“I just loved the song when I heard it. I love the record too, you know? Those are sometimes very separate things – the song to the record — but I just loved it and wanted to do my little cover version of it on my ganjo. From that very spontaneous moment, Nas saw the piece that I did and really loved it apparently, and next thing you know, I’m playing with him (and Billy Ray) last night.”
Jon Pardi (Thomas Rhett song) OC: …short hair now. (laughs) :44
“So (claps), me and Thomas (Rhett) go back to the long hair days — two songwriters trying to figure out who they’re gonna be in country music. I was so happy when he texted me and asked me to be a part of this record, and I was like, ‘Of course! Like come on! What song?’ He sent me two and we decided to sing ‘Beer Can’t Fix,’ ’cause it’s an anthem. It’s a no-brainer. For two male artists to sing a song together, I think it’s perfect. it’s about, well, drinking a beer. It’s fun, and I would say there’s a full-circle (moment) for me and him to walk out on Nissan and sing, for the first time ever, this song together. I don’t know. I think it’s cool, and we have short hair now.” (laughs)
Brothers Osborne (Brooks & Dunn) OC: …of us both. :46
First we were asked, ‘Are you guys fans of Brooks & Dunn?’ I just thought it was a ridiculous question to ask if you’re not a fan of Brooks & Dunn, then you shouldn’t be in this genre. But, so then it was like, ‘What song are we gonna do?’ Then it was a little tough because Ronnie’s voice is so high and obviously, I have a baritone voice, of trying to get a song to work for both of our strengths, and then a song that lends itself to a lot of guitar parts and then ‘Hard Workin’ Man,’ it became pretty obvious that was a really great song, but that also took abandoning one of the guitar hooks in that song. It was just crazy, because we wanted to do it like Brooks & Dunn did it, because we just love the song, and they wanted to do it like we would do it. It was a really interesting thing. I think the way that it turned out was really great. I’m really proud of it, and I think it really is a perfect kind of mix of us both.”
“Hey Everybody! I’m Adam Hambrick, wishing you a very Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey everybody! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a very Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey everybody! I’m Brandon Lay, wishing all you Fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing all you fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey y’all! This is Caylee Hammack. For all you Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Eric Church, wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Gary Allan, and I want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey y’all, this is Jon Langston, wishing you a very Happy Father’s Day.”
“Jon Pardi here. Happy Father’s Day to all you father’s out there.”
“Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, wishing all the fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day. Here’s to you, Senior. Insert beer can opening sample (sound effect). (laughs)
“Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you all a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey y’all! This is Josh Turner, and I just want to wish all you father’s out there a Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves. Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey everyone! It’s Keith Urban, wishing all you Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hi! This is Little Big Town, wishing all you father’s a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Luke Bryan, wishing all the Fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day. Here’s to you, Dad.”
“Hey everybody! I’m Maddie and I’m Tae, wishing all you fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Sam Hunt. To all you Fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hi! This is Shania Twain. Happy Father’s Day.”