It would seem that country music is becoming the genre for the young people, according to a 2017 Country Music Association (CMA) study that outlines the many factors that have led to a surge in interest in the genre. 2018 saw nearly 80,000 people descend on the Country To Country (C2C) Musical Festival held in three locations simultaneously, London, Dublin and Glasgow, over 3 days. It’s no wonder then that country artists from the US are cashing in on this interest and shaking off those line dancing, hoedown stereotypes and are bringing their style of country music to the mainstream.
One of those artists is the amazing Brothers Osborne. Following the success of their debut album Pawn Shop, which has gone Gold in the US, Brothers Osborne release their hotly anticipated sophomore album Port Saint Joe, a 10 track rocking country blues swagger fest that had me hooked from the second I pressed play. With tracks that pull at the heart strings and focus on telling stories in the most alluring way, brothers TJ and John Osborne throw away those stereotypes and deliver some amazingly intense and soul searching tracks. If you want music that connects the soul to the heart and to the brain in one fell swoop then these guys are just the ticket for you.
Released on Spinefarm Records on April 20th 2018, Port Saint Joe delivers those deep, thick baritone vocals from TJ Osborne. Always described as the voice of the family he began jamming with his brother John at an early age back in Deale, Maryland where the family grew up. John is a master shredder ably throwing out bluegrass licks, rock arena worthy riffs yet maintaining that gorgeous country twang while TJ complements the music with his deliciously soothing yet powerful vocals. After securing 2 Grammy Nominations and having won big at the CMA Awards scooping awards for Music Video of the Year for ‘It Ain’t My Fault (from debut album Pawn Shop) and Vocal Duo of the Year it’s quite easy to see, with albums such as this, why country music is becoming so prominent in the UK.
From the sound of the waves and acoustic guitar intro on album opener ‘Slow Your Roll’ you’ll be transported to the Florida coast, where the album was recorded over a couple of weeks at a beach house in Port Saint Joe, hence the album title and what you’ll find is a cohesive, tight and beautifully delivered album that sees each track roll from one to the next.
‘Slow Your Roll’ is an upbeat track that has that country swagger that is prominent through the track. All about slowing down, taking a step back from the hectic rat race of city life and just relaxing by the beach, “Take it down a notch,” sings TJ, “Calm that country ass down!”.
‘Shoot Me Straight’ the first single release from the album is about drinking whiskey, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy doing shots with your mates? “Make it burn the whole way down… …Yeah tomorrow I’ll have me a hard hangover”. The catchy lyrics, upbeat tone and rock rooted riffs infused with that blues swagger is hard to ignore. John delivers an outstanding riff during the latter part of the track that just drives the track into your brain.
‘I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)’ is the first ballad on the album, encompassing a traditional country feel with delicate emotive tones, and in honesty it’s an absolutely stunning and nostalgic track. TJ’s vocals will without doubt pull you into the song, the hooks are perfectly placed, the riffs delivered by John are hugely emotive. It questions life before a great love, “Who was I before I met you?” Something that anyone in love can relate to I’m sure.
‘Weed, Whiskey and Willie’ has a soothing beginning, the soulful acoustic guitar and those deep, swaggersome vocals are so reassuring. The track seems to wraps itself around you and slow dances you into a beautiful oblivion with its slow, strong rhythm. The riffs build in power throughout the track and into the chorus before dropping off again into the next verse. ‘Tequila Again’ and ‘A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright’ have an upbeat, bouncy rhythm, accompanied by jovial banjo riffs. TJ’s vocals soaring on both tracks while the jumping beats instil a desire to move your body. Both tracks deliver a wonderful energy.
Ballad ‘Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive)’ is a beautiful track about spending your life with someone, “We ain’t getting out of this love alive.” From the light and engagingly emotive intro to the catchy chorus you’ll be engrossed in this highly relatable track, with moving vocals and searing riffs there’s something about this track that just catches the heart strings and doesn’t let go. It’s a track that many a country fan will be adding to the first dance list at their wedding.
Giving a nod to the heavy shots from the night before is ‘Drank Like Hank’ with its driving rhythm and traditional blues swagger. The track is initiated by rocking riffs and soaring vocals and it’s all about a hangover and remembering details from the night before, we’ve all been there! ‘A Little Bit Trouble’ is a mid tempo number that has such a wonderful summer feel to it. The lyrics delivered in that gorgeous baritone from TJ, all about a woman who is a little bit trouble, “Everything about you says I should probably get going, but everything about me says I want to stay right here.” The rhythm is graceful and steady, laced with pop sensibilities and engaging lightly delivered riffs.
Album closer ‘While You Still Can’ is a thought provoking, flawless track based around the idea that no one lasts forever, that life is fleeting and that holding grudges are pointless. “Make
amends with that old friend you swore you’d never talk to again cos you miss ‘em / Call up your mom on the telephone talk a whole lot of nothing til the cows come home and listen...”. The acoustic
guitar from John and powerfully emotive vocals from TJ make this an absolutely sublime track, the strong hooks and laid bare delivery conveys so much emotion, the lyrics are so brutally honest and
the ascending riffs that draws the track and the album to a close will leave you thinking about your life and how important it is to “take life by the hands while you still can”.
If you’re a country fan then this album is a must buy, and if you’re not then buy it anyway just because it’s an amazingly emotive album that anyone should be able to relate to.
Brothers Osborne are currently touring the UK, so check out the following link and catch a live performance while you can: https://www.facebook.com/BrothersOsborne/app/123966167614127/?ref=page_internal
Slow Your Roll
Shoot Me Straight
I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)
Weed, Whiskey and Willie
A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright
Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive)
Drank Like Hank
A Little Bit Trouble
While You Still Can
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