2016 was a banner year for Brothers Osborne – a massive one at that – after releasing the universally regarded Pawn Shop at the beginning to their recent Grammy nominations, if John and T.J. Osborne were ever ones to play the lottery now would be their time to do so.
Long lede aside, Brothers Osborne’s current Dirt Rich tour brought the brothers’ victory lap tour back to Nashville, for a proper hometown show. With (at least one half of) Brothers Osborne’s absolute favorite opening act Lucie Silvas warming up the sold out crowd, the show was without a doubt Brothers Osborne’s finest Nashville stop to date.
Playing out to a sold out (naturally) crowd at Marathon, Brothers Osborne’s set featured
many a sing along early and VERY often. It was almost surreal to hear the crowd involve themselves in the songs, as their inclusion felt nearly seamless; hardly a flat voice to be found. Anyway, collective chorus gawking aside, you’d be hard pressed to find a duo better suited to lead an overtly enthusiastic crowd of admirers along the gamut of chart topping country anthems and ballads a like.
As an aside, I’d also like to take a moment to highlight the fact that John and T.J. Osborne are arguably two of the snappiest dressers in country music to boot – most notably John. There are few people that can pull off suede fringe, much less do so whilst sweating and shredding on stage. Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there, John and T.J. make wise decisions in crafting their tunes and their appearance, it seems.
So, back to the actual show. As alluded earlier, the crowd was no less enthusiastic during deep cuts than hits, showing more than their fair share of interest, excitement, adoration, etc. throughout the set.
Already tall enough, Brothers Osborne towered over the admiring masses, making a quick “What’s up Nashville?” quip before opening up with their titular track “Pawn Shop.” From the onset, its obvious that the past year for Brothers Osborne has more than heightened the brothers’ performance chops, as T.J. Osborne managed to point out everyone in the crowd – label head and fan alike.
The set was streamlined to exquisite proportions, as Brothers Osborne ran through “American Crazy,” and the megaphone-led “Greener Pastures” in no time flat. It wasn’t all songs all the time though, as T.J. and John always managed to find time to interact with their audience at precisely the right time – T.J in particular. Preceding their drop into “Rum” originally off their 2014 Brothers Osborne EP, T.J. took a moment to express both his and his brother’s gratitude for the sold out crowd.
“[This is our] first headlining show in Nashville in 4 years. Lots of shit’s changed, y’all. Only thing that’s changed is y’all are badass.”
Needless to say, T.J. commentary sat incredibly well with the already enthusiastic crowd. Following T.J.’s appreciative words, the show went into full tilt, with a near-flawless crowd lead on “Rum,” and from that point on there was nary a dull moment to be found throughout the set.
The deeper into the set the Brothers got, the bigger the tunes, as “Rum,” “21 Summer,” and “Heart Shaped Locket” all received massive sing alongs, but those were hardly the highest points of the set. Perhaps the most interesting – or at least, unexpected – moment of Brothers Osborne’s set was the incorporation of some heavy bluegrass.
In true front man fashion, T.J. took a moment to preface the band’s bluegrass cover of Springsteen’s (!!!) “Atlantic City” with some self-deprecation. “We’re going to ATTEMPT to do this song right now. With it being Nashville, we know there are going to be some bluegrassers out there that’ll likely give us shit. But here goes.”
Obviously, no one was bummed when they jumped into “Atlantic City,” and shifted it into a medley featuring “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” In fact, no one was bummed at all, at any given moment in the set. Its safe to say that the past year has officially placed Brothers Osborne on a new plane of country stalwarts, and are all but poised to reach the upper echelon sooner, rather than later.
Photography courtesy of Reid Long