This year The Highway announced a record number of 9 Superfan concerts with a variety of new and old artists; and Bret Michaels that we went to on Tuesday. We looked through the list and had just seen some and others we didn’t want to see, and so we decided, we know nothing about Brothers Osborne but love the current single, “Stay a Little Longer”, so signed up to go it and so glad we did.
My (Ed) only initial impressions were that one of the brothers had some wild hair, like an Amish hipster :-); and that Eric Church had them open some of the Outsiders tour dates and had said on his Sirius XM Show “Outsiders Radio” that he thought what they did was really cool, some high praise from one of my favorite artists.
“Night Time Vixen” Jessica, who was down from her normal studio in New York for CMA Week, hosted our show and introduced TJ and John “Johnny Beard” (which was helpful since made it easy remember which was which). So TJ is the deep voiced one who takes lead on the songs. He was the younger looking one, and John said they are just 2 1/2 years apart. They talked about how their family was the key reason they are doing music, as growing up in rural southern Maryland their parents had music always around; writing, singing and playing with TJ and John and their other brother and two sisters (one sister, Natalie lives in Nashville and can sign, the other two TJ said you would not want to hear). TJ talked about how life got them to move here, including spending 5 years in high school. One of the audience asked what it was like to tour with your brother and they said they slept in bunk beds together most of their lives, so being in bunks one over the other on the tour bus is just like being 13 again.
Beyond talking about their lives and influence they played incredible music. A couple new songs, including a marijuana song, that was funny, called “Greener Pastures”. They talked about their favorite rum before playing their single “Rum”. The Highway had played their first single “Let’s Go There”, but didn’t get a lot of traction, and then last summer “Rum” came out and was highly requested and helped push them. I honestly wasn’t a huge fan, but live it was incredible and TJ explained that the song, even though it sounds beachy and tropical, is the exact opposite, talking about those who are stuck in wherever that is, far from the beach, making it even more resonant.
They ended the show with “Stay a Little Longer” and listening to it in person in the intimacy of the 56-person Music City Theater the words took on so much more weight. The lyrics are incredible and really paint a great picture.
Towards the end Jessica asked them about their love lives, and John had news that had never been made public, that he and his longtime girlfriend, Lucy, got married a little over a week before. TJ said they were told via text after that fact and were supposed to keep it secret, and John was like, well guess not a secret after this plays. (TJ is still single for those of you wondering.)
Getting to know John and TJ and hear the stories behind their lives and songs made us appreciate it that much more. John said they “hope” to have a full CD soon, but they are still recording on it, and just have an EP out for now. Their sound is so unique and they have a style that is different, with some blues and a bit singer-songwriter that should distinguish them in the market and hopefully this single and the tour with Eric and this summer with Darius Rucker will give them a shot.