PORT SAINT JOE (EMI)
BROTHERS OSBORNE WARRIORS FOR WILLIE
“I've got bottles and vinyl stacked to the ceiling/ I get stoned for survival, it helps with the healing/ and when it all goes to hell the only thing I believe in/ is weed, whiskey and Willie.” - Weed, Whiskey And Willie - John Osborne-T.J. Osborne-Laura Veltz.
Brothers Osborne share more than their penchant for the herb superb with their Octogenarian mentor - singing actor Willie Nelson.
The duo joined Willie, now 86, by expanding their profile and releasing a brace of video clips to promote their eclectic music.
This enables them to tour Australia with more than a little help from their friends in community and ABC radio and Nu Country TV and CMC.
They showcased their Red Headed Stranger eulogy - Weed, Whiskey & Willie - live last year on Late Night With Seth Meyers on U.S. TV and the Grand Ole Opry.
That was after being among headliners at CMC Rocks Queensland in Ipswich .
John, 35, and T.J. Osborne, 32, left Maryland for Nashville as songwriters and won the 2017 CMA Awards best vocal duo.
The duo recorded its second album Port Saint Joe with producer Jay Joyce at the Florida seaside city of the same name.
They filmed a string of alternate video clips from the album, released on April 20, 2018, at Terapin Care Station marijuana plantations in Colorado - one of several states where the herb superb is legalized.
They also performed Pushing Up Daisies and A Couple Of Wrongs Making It Alright from second album Port Saint Joe at Terapin.
Those videos were reprised this year on Nu Country TV .
The album, released on April 20, 2018, also features Weed, Whiskey & Willie that also features on Nu Country TV in August.
DRANK LIKE HANK
“Found a buzz and a hundred-proof chug and I lost my mind/ ain't got a drop left in the tank/ not a nickel left in the bank/ yeah, we partied like The Possum and we drank like Hank.” - Drank Like Hank - John Osborne- Kendal Marvel-Thomas Osborne.
“We got a standing ovation for it,” T.J. recalled.
“I think it's just one of those songs that has great alliteration. It's just fun, and it's really country.”
Co-written with Laura Veltz the song is about healing from heartbreak with help from smoke, brown liquor and Willie Nelson on vinyl.
John described it as one of the easiest songs to write for their new album.
“I had this really interesting idea about holding it together and letting go,” he recalled.
“And T.J. was like, ‘what about vices and heroes hold music together while letting it go?' That's cool. What an odd way to say that. That's when a collaborative process works well when you have two ideas that are swimming around, and they just meet, and it just happens.”
Clocking in at four minutes 20 seconds, it's a serendipitous moment on Port Saint Joe.
Brothers Osborne recently toured with Arizona born singer-songwriter-pilot Dierks Bentley after appearing at Joshua Tree with him on his Burning Man video from his 11th album The Mountain .
The duo also performed 21 Summer from debut album Pawn Shop and Shoot Me Straight from Port Saint Joe on Nu Country .
“I'll never forget the first time kissed her/ and that's where the story begins/ at a dive bar named in Encinitas/ we met through a mutual friend/ had a hell of a time and we went all night/ by morning she messed up my head/ I swore her off, but I'll be damned/ I fell in love with tequila again.” - Tequila Again - John Osborne- Kendal Marvel-Thomas Osborne.
Port Saint Joe was recorded in two weeks in a beach house getaway - an authentic reflection of their dynamic musicality.
“We shacked up for two weeks to make an unabashed record that would reflect who we are in every way," says TJ Osborne.
"And in the process, we had the most enjoyable and memorable recording experience of our lives. There's a lot of mistakes, and we didn't leave the mistakes just to have a statement piece. We left them in there because we really felt like it was a live performance. That's all we're really trying to capture.”
The location reminded them of their Chesapeake Bay hometown, blue-collar hamlet Deale, Maryland.
Many residents eked out livings on the water, but for the Osbornes - described by T.J. as “the only liberal family that I can think of in our town” - plumbing was the family business.
“We'd be crawling under houses,” John said, “and if you needed pipes, fittings or tools, we were the ones that would crawl out and go get them and bring them back. We did that ever since we were little kids.”
Their parents wrote country songs and made trips to Nashville , taking notes on what it took to hold down a honky-tonk gig.
They returned home convinced the family band, Deuce and a Quarter - a trio with John Osborne Sr. and his teenage sons - needed to work up a four-hour set for its local shows.
John and T.J., given identical first and middle names in reverse order (John Thomas and Thomas John), learned chords so they could join relatives' picking parties.
John spent hours dissecting Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers , Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton in the bedroom he and T.J. shared.
With five children in the family money was tight but their dad assembled a reel-to-reel recording rig in a shed in the backyard.
First John, then T.J. moved to Nashville after high school, envisioning separate musical paths.
“All I wanted to do was grow up, be in a band, play songs that I think are great and get to play guitar solos,” John said.
T.J. sang on demos and tried to be a solo act but he received greatest response when his brother accompanied him.
“There was something there that we didn't notice because we had been around it our whole lives,” he said.
“It didn't seem like it was anything unique. But people just kept commenting on it.”
The Osbornes were in a circle of singers, songwriters and musicians that included Kacey Musgraves, Charlie Worsham, Kree Harrison and Lucie Silvas, whom John eventually married.
People confused Brothers Osborne with the Osborne Brothers who made it in the 1960s and '70s.
A radio station intern once welcomed the younger Osbornes with a banner depicting the elder pair.
John and T.J. found it hilarious, adding a funky cover of the bluegrass legends Rocky Top to their set.
But it was hard to cope with monumental popularity of bro country songs leaving room for little else on country playlists.
“We were watching artists that were getting signed a year or two years after us just fly by us on the charts,” T.J. said.
After self-producing an EP, they made their debut album, Pawn Shop with producer Joyce.
SHOOT ME STRAIGHT
“Make it burn the whole way down/ lay my six foot four inch ass out on the ground/ yeah, tomorrow I'll have me a hard hangover/ and one hell of a heartache/ so pour it on like a shot of whiskey/ and shoot me straight.” - Shoot Me Straight - John Osborne-Lee Miller-Thomas Osborne
Shoot Me Straight is a breakup anthem written with Lee Thomas Miller.
TJ revealed the song started as a ballad but they added a guitar lick that changed the song's direction.
“We thought the song was good, but we didn't think it would have anything super unique about it or memorable,” TJ said.
“And there was this lick that we were throwing around at several writes that John had the idea of marrying these two ideas. And then instantly we knew right there that it would be a song that we would record.”
What started as a ballad turned into a six-and-a-half-minute long barnburner that ends with a fiery guitar breakdown that lasts more than half the song's duration.
“We thought it would be one of the riskiest singles to lead the album,” he added, “which I don't know why we're attracted to the hard road. I don't know why that happens. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of an underdog. But we decided to lead with that knowing it would be difficult considering that the full version is six-and-a-half minutes long.
“We knew it was us, and we knew it was different. We knew that we liked it, and we like stirring up the pot.”
The duo filmed their Shoot Me Straight video as a "mockumentary" about what it takes to create music videos.
Their hilarious video, directed by Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver, opens with TJ and John Osborne shooting down all video ideas presented to them by their directors.
The bad ideas range from a bunch of girls in a cornfield to an intergalactic-inspired treatment called Space Force.
The directors grow tired of the brothers not cooperating, so they take matters into their own hands, opting to force the country duo into filming a video.
The directors and their team of help - a wacky team of secret agents, in a sense - trap the Osbornes in a room backstage in order to get them to film their Shoot Me Straight video.
When that doesn't work, well, the situation gets desperate.
“This idea genuinely spawned out of us not being able to come to agreement on what we wanted the video to be about,” says TJ.
“After weeks of back and forth emails, conference calls, treatment pitches, etc we came to the conclusion that we needed to make a video about, well, not making a video,” John added.
“It turned out to be so damn fun.”
SLOW YOUR ROLL FOR THE SERMON
“Take a little break from the outrage/ pour up a little heaven on ice/ pick it back up on Monday/ today I'm gonna testify/ The Lords been talking through the weather/ Sunday sermon in the sun down sky/ don't think I could say it any better/ so I think I'm gonna take that advice.” - Slow Your Roll - Barry George Dean-John Thomas Osborne-Thomas John Osborne-Troy Verges.
Brothers Osborne played the Nissan Stadium in Nashville in June during two consecutive CMA festivals.
"We're gonna play the stadium, which is amazing,” John Osborne revealed on the eve of one concert.
“The first time we played the stadium was because Chris Stapleton broke his thumb. Which was amazing. Best thing that ever happened to us. But this time they want us to play there on our own merit."
The duo focuses on the present more than the future.
"I think it's very important to stay present in this business, because if I think about anything that we have coming up,” he added.
“I just have to focus on what's happening right now, or the anxiety levels are just skyrocketing."
TJ Osborne agrees.
"We have awesome lives, but we're always thinking so much about what we f--ked up in our music, and where we can go to fix that and make it better," T.J. explained.
"Thinking in the past and thinking forward, I think that's probably the hardest thing we do. That's why we enjoy playing so much. It's the only place in my life where I'm ever truly there, and it's the best feeling in the world because of that."
Brothers Osborne toured recently with Bentley and Lanco but made a special stop home in Nashville for a surprise they've long been planning for their mum, Trish.
The duo bought her a house in Nashville , fulfilling a longtime dream of hers and theirs for her to be closer to Music City and to her sons.
"Our sweet, strong mother is one of the reasons we are who we are," the duo explained.
"Sacrificed so much for us growing up. She deserves a mansion in the hills, but we bought her a humble home close to us in Nashville . Welcome home mum!"
To complete the surprise they brought her to her new home in Nashville , bringing a TV crew and reporter from CMT to complete the ruse that Trish was there to give an interview on what the country musicians were like growing up.
She had no idea the surprise was coming - all five of Trish's children were there as she toured her new home.
John and TJ grew up in a musical household, and that it was these formative experiences that helped them decide to move to Nashville and pursue it as a career.
"Our parents played music and wrote songs, and our uncles and cousins played music," TJ explained.
"When we were really young it was like second nature. John and I wanted to participate and play with the family because it was fun. And that was where we cut our teeth. We just wanted to sit in with our dad and cousins and play songs."