Maryland natives John and T.J. Osborne are making musical waves as Brothers Osborne. Here we catch up with the duo, nominated for a Grammy and two Academy of Country Music awards, to talk about their ascent to stardom.
John and T.J. Osborne have been named by Rolling Stone and other publications as a rising duo to watch.
Twenty years ago, in the backyard of a home just 30 miles east of DC in Deale, Maryland, John and T.J. Osborne could be found “fetching beers for a quarter apiece” at parties where loved ones gathered to listen to their father and other family members play music, recalls T.J.
A half toolshed, half recording studio is where Brothers Osborne, a rising country music duo based in Nashville, got its start. “My mom and dad were both singer-songwriters,” says John. “We would sit back there… and play songs, and they would write. It’s where we cut our teeth playing as kids.”
Coming a long way from the shed, Brothers Osborne released its debut self-titled EP on September 9, just two days before kicking off a 12-stop tour opening for Eric Church. Country Weekly called the duo one of the “Ones to Watch in 2014,” and Rolling Stone named them one of “10 Artists You Need to Know.” And on the day we caught up with them—hot off the heels of a successful CMA Fest appearance and a tour of their own—they were set to follow our interview with one at Country Music Television.
Growing up, both played stand-up bass in the school band, but explored other instruments. Two years T.J.’s elder, John began performing music passionately when he was about 12. Around town, they performed in a band called Deuce & a Quarter with their dad. When they were old enough, the brothers headed—separately—to Nashville; John first, attending school at Belmont University. Meanwhile, T.J. was finding his own way. “When I first got [to Nashville], John was really well known as a guitar player,” T.J. remembers. “I didn’t want to ride on his coattails, so we did our own thing for a while. I started writing songs and singing. And people started to really respect us as individuals.” Realizing how deep the talent pool is in Nashville was a cold awakening for T.J.: “You think you’re going to come down and kick ass, and then you get here and everyone is awesome,” he says. “I spent the first three years just getting up my chops.”
Around 2011 the brothers decided to give it a go together. “Within a year, we got signed to Capitol Records’ EMI Nashville imprint, and it was just moving lightning-fast,” T.J. says. “They have a saying in Nashville: ‘You’re a 10-year overnight success,’ and it’s true! It’s not a task for the weary, that’s for sure.” Brothers Osborne’s latest single, “Rum,” is climbing the charts, and their first full album drops in January.