Time for a little Brothers Osborne appreciation post.
Fresh off the release of their third studio album, one that stays constantly on repeat in my household, I started thinking on all the reasons I love these guys. And between the authentic songwriting, TJ’s unique baritone vocals and John’s face-melting guitar skills, it’s crystal clear that these are two of the most talented dudes in country music. But more than just great music, I appreciate the fact that they’ve always gone to bat for good music in an industry that doesn’t necessarily reward that.
Between propping up great songwriters, overlooked female artists like the very talented Hailey Whitters, and more, they’ve never been afraid to to speak their mind. Both in support of the good, and against the bad.
Like ahead of this acoustic performance of “Down Home,” from their debut album Pawn Shop, TJ Osborne shot it straight (pun very much intended) in an interview with Rolling Stone about artists that hide behind a lot of production:
“When you play acoustic, you can’t hide behind anything. It’s really the thing that separates the men from the boys. We grew up loving and revering country music. That’s why we wanted to do the Western swing bits. We’re not calling ourselves country music just so we can find a genre to put our shitty pop music in.”
Then, at last year’s ACM Awards, every single publication on the red carpet had a question about Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and whether or not it was actually a “country” song. Artists like Old Dominion said of course it was because quote: “What is country these days?” You know, it’s music so I thought it was pretty silly that they said it wasn’t.”
So when she asked the Bros, “What is country to you?” Brothers Osborne were once again unafraid to set the record straight.
“Certainly not that,” TJ laughed before the duo commented on their own struggle to get radio play, the amount of women that are busting their ass and still don’t get radio play, and how quasi-country lyrics and manufactured controversy don’t earn you a hall pass into country music.
“This dude decides to put out a song with kinda quasi-country lyrics and mentions a horse and boobies or some bullshit, so it’s not that. Don’t create controversy and expect that to give you a hall pass. We need good songs. Go listen to Kris Kristofferson, and then go listen to that song, and you if you tell me they have anything to do with each other then I’ll quit. I’m out, I’m done with the genre.”
Well said John. Well said.
And then, in another past interview with Rolling Stone, they called for more substance in music, hitting the nail on the head regarding the shitty bro-country era of hit songs that were forgettable trash (you know who we’re talking about).
John: “I think people are tired of the bullshit and are ready for the real substance.”
TJ: “We went through an era of big hit songs that no one is going to listen to 10 years from now. And we’re about to hit a decade of country that I think is going to be played for a long time. It’s about to hit the same stride it hit in the Nineties.”
I’ll say it again, Amen. Thankfully, the pendulum has started to swing back towards traditional country music, more substantive country music, and just better music in general.
But at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding.
Between Pawn Shop, Port Saint Joe, and the recently released Skeletons, John and TJ have put together a catalog of music that anybody in country music would be proud to call their own. They talk the talk, AND they walk the walk. God bless ’em for it.
Oh, and if you haven’t picked up Skeletons yet, go get that thing NOW.
“I’m Not For Everyone”
“Dead Man’s Curve”