Brothers Osborne - A Journey to Musical Stardom Coast to Coast - 30A

Brothers Osborne – A Journey to Musical Stardom Coast to Coast

By Will Estell

If you’re a fan of country music, chances are, you’ve heard more than one hit from this brotherly twosome from Deale, Maryland. They may come from one of the more unlikely specks on the map for country music stardom, but that sure hasn’t hindered the popularity of the work along their musical trek from the Mid-Atlantic region to Nashville to airwaves and playlists in your neck of the woods.

I recently spoke with TJ and John to find out what makes Brothers Osborne tick, and just what inspires them to write and perform the songs they have, allowing them to connect with fans from all places and spaces of life along the way.

From the Chesapeake Bay to Nashville’s banks of the Cumberland River to the shores of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, TJ and John have found inspiration from places, just as they have people. Their critically-acclaimed second album, Port Saint Joe, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and No. 15 on the Billboard 200, going on to sell over 110,000 copies to date. Not bad for an album that was recorded on their terms, in the raw, at their producer’s beach house.

Skeletons, their third album, released in the Fall of 2020, is already getting rave reviews, along with gaining traction on Billboard’s Top 40 Country Chart. This newest work has allowed the brothers to really stretch their musical taste and strengths to new levels. After listening to the album (and you should) I think it’s safe to say this one will certainly gain the brothers some new fans, along with the growing admiration of their current ones. Skeletons features 12 songs, all written or co-written by TJ and John, and rooted in the excitement and electricity of a Brothers Osborne’s concert, full of tunes that get the fans going and build new ones at the same time. Produced by well-known, multi-platinum mega-producer, Jay Joyce, Skeletons is a powerful work of artistry and emotion, and seems to fit perfectly into a world that has so much of both during these unprecedented times.

Photo credit: Eric Ryan Anderson

From the bluesy strut of “All Night” to the classic country story of “Old Man’s Boots,” the brothers don’t hold back on their influences, and it shows. “Back on the Bottle” pays tribute to Merle Haggard, while “Dead Man’s Curve” nods to Southern rock. The diversity is very evident in this new album and it seems to portray a vibrancy that so much current music is simply missing.

With Brothers Osborne’s long list of musical milestones — including six Grammy nominations, four CMA Awards, five ACM trophies, and more than a half-dozen hits – I think it’s safe to say we’re going to be hearing a lot more out of this Nashville based brotherhood, for quite some time.

Having grown up in rural, small-town Deale, Maryland (population under 5,000), what drew you to country music, and when did you first decide you wanted to pursue the path of music?

TJ: I don’t know it was ever a conscious decision to become country music artists until we decided to move to Nashville. We were just always around it.

Our mom and dad both played music and wrote songs, and our family would sit around the kitchen table and play.

For a long time, John and I just kind of thought all families did that. Our dad would play with our uncle Billy and our cousin Johnny. We always wanted to participate, and these guys took it seriously. They weren’t going to let some kids sit around and bang on guitars. So we had to learn to play and be good for them to let us be a part of it. By our teenage years, we really took it seriously and started going out to some of the local bars on the Chesapeake Bay. There’s a lot of Tiki bars and other places we could play in. It was me, my brother and my dad. Then we came to Nashville and played some of the bars on Broadway for about a year, then moved back to Maryland for a year, then moved here [Nashville] right after I graduated high school.