“To work so long on the music and to finally have something that people can listen to is great,” T.J. Osborne tells Billboard. “People are getting into the song, requesting it, and singing it back. It’s definitely been a wild experience.”
His older sibling, John, agrees that 2014 has been nothing short of a whirlwind. “It’s happened out of nowhere, really. It almost seems like it happened overnight, because we were so consumed with the radio tour and doing shows across the country. Before you know it, our social media numbers started growing — then sales started to grow. When the video came out, everything really exploded. It’s taken on a life of its own. It’s what we’ve been working so hard on.”
Growing up in Maryland, music has always been a crucial element in the Osborne family way of life. “Growing up, our parents played, and so did our uncle and our cousin. They would always play together — particularly at family functions,” T.J. tells The 615.
“We’d always think, ‘Dang, we want to join in.’ But for us to join in with them, we had to learn and be able to play. We couldn’t disrupt things with a bunch of noise. We practiced guitar and writing songs, and then we got to join in. It was all second nature for us,” he says.
While “Rum” is definitely making an impact with its party-ready atmosphere, there are some more serious moments on the EP — such as the potent and powerful “Love The Lonely Out Of You,” which they co-wrote with award-winning songwriter Connie Harrington (“I Drive Your Truck”).
T.J. says if it has an old-school vibe, there’s a good reason. “We recorded that song live in the studio. It’s very easy to get caught up in the glamour of a Nashville studio, and have it suck the life out of a song — if you’re not careful. On that song, we were able to get in and do it like an old country song — live, with no Auto-Tuning. There’s some imperfections in the vocal and the guitar, but ultimately, it has that stark and real vibe that it needed to have. Emotionally, that one takes the most out of us to perform.”
The success of their music so far tells the duo that sometimes you just have to go with your heart rather than conventional wisdom about what might work at radio. “You learn the rules and the formula that work from the musicians that have influenced us in our career,” admits John. “Sometimes that builds walls and in art, there’s not supposed to be any walls. In art, things are virtually limitless. Every now and then, you have to kick the walls down and see what you can come up with.”
Brothers Osborne has a busy fall coming up, as they were recently selected to be an opening act for Eric Church‘s The Outsiders world tour, which commences on Sept. 11 in Bossier City, LA. They’re thrilled to hit the road with not one but two of their favorite artists.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” stresses John. “Not only is [Eric] one of the biggest acts out right now, but he is one of the few that consistently pushes the boat out with every record and takes risks. In this industry, it can be scary to take risks, because you can essentially fall flat on your face. Eric has never been afraid of that, and he kicks down walls every time he puts a record out. For us to go out with someone like him, he inspires us so greatly, we couldn’t be more grateful — not to mention that Dwight Yoakam is also going to be on the tour, and he’s one of our musical heroes. We’ve listened to him since we were kids.”