If we hadn’t braked, we would have no idea
Paradise was hiding right here
Dip our toes in the water
I don’t care if it gets hotter
Deale, Maryland is a fishing village on Chesapeake Bay – a paradise that is home to one of country music’s hottest duos, Brothers Osborne.
“It’s a small town, as people like to say, there are more boats than people here,” said TJ Osborne. He and his older brother John caught crabs from the pier.
“We’d run, swim, play in this water five to seven days a week,” added John.
Anthony Mason, co-host of CBS This Morning, asked, “Where does your love for music come from?”
“When we started learning how to play and sing, it really was like we could just join in with the family,” TJ replied.
Her parents took her to music class early: “And surprisingly, if you’d heard us play the violin at that age you’d think, ‘Yes, music would never happen to these kids, they were terrible!'” John laughed.
They practiced in a shed behind their house that they showed to Mason. “Does it look pretty much the same?” he asked.
“It looks a lot, a lot better,” laughed John. “There are no beer cans lying around anywhere.”
When her father, “Big John” Osborne, a plumber and part-time songwriter, formed a band called Deuce and a Quarter, the brothers joined in – John on guitar and TJ on bass. Some of her earliest appearances were at the Happy Harbor Bar in Deale. Big John saw something in his boys: “I kind of noticed, ‘They’re guys who are pretty good.’ And I tried not to be the father You are my children! – but I could see it. ”
The brothers both went to Nashville – John first to make a name for himself as a guitarist. TJ followed and started as a solo act. Sometimes he would book his brother to play behind him: “People kept saying, ‘You two are special together.’ Which was basically the same as ‘You sing alone is not so interesting!’ “TJ laughed.
“And an hour and a half of guitar solos – surprisingly! – aren’t very interesting either,” added John.
In 2012 they signed a record deal as Brothers Osborne. John recalled, “We pulled into the driveway and I just started crying. Finally all the work we’ve done over the years and all the setbacks and all the odd jobs and all the weird gigs I’ve played is starting to pay off. “
Behind hits like “It Ain’t My Fault”, their debut album “Pawn Shop” climbed to number 3 on the country charts.
John said, “The trajectory, if you look at it on a graph, there are no big peaks. It’s just a slow and steady increase.”
But in 2019, when the brothers were making their last album “Skeletons”, John, who had struggled with fear since childhood, came across a crisis point: “I remember calling our manager at the time and telling him: “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why I’m not happy. I am depressed. My fear goes through the roof. I can not sleep. My ears are ringing. ‘”
Mason asked TJ, “In the middle of all this, were you worried about him?”
“Oh big time,” he said. “I could just look at him and say he didn’t want to be there, and then I said, ‘Wow, we have to go home now.’ We canceled some appointments. “
John said, “And with a lot of therapy, a lot of self-help, a lot of love from my friends and family, I could somehow get to a better place so we can finish the album. But we’re going to do it. I’ve been thinking about quitting music … what I would never have thought in my life. “
The pandemic gave the brothers a moment to step back. It was then that TJ realized that he finally had to be open to his sexuality: “And I remember sitting down and thinking, ‘I have, I have to get out. So I have to do this.”
This February, TJ came out gay in a Time magazine article, a fact he shared with his brother just before they signed their recording deal.
When asked for his answer, when TJ told him, John replied, “I just said, ‘I know.’ And then I just started crying a lot. What I’m learning in this segment is that I cry a lot! “
“Why did you cry?”
“I was just happy for him. I knew how much it meant to him to feel close enough and vulnerable enough to say that.”
“There aren’t many openly gay artists in the country music scene,” Mason said. “Were you even concerned about how that would be received?”
TJ said, “I think that was me. And I mean – and I was worried until the day I did. But I think when I finally made the decision that I was going to make, I felt I’m very sure of that. But it’s really the fear of the unknown. Are we losing fans? Besides, I didn’t know how positive it would be. I didn’t know that. “
“You have a lot of support,” said Mason.
“I had a lot of support. And there were some people who told me the wrong thing. But it was a lot less than I expected.”
Sister Natalie and her parents, John and his ex-wife Tricia, fully supported TJ when he made the announcement in February.
“It was very emotional and a very special day in the Osborne household,” said Natalie.
Tricia said, “The main thing in life is character, no matter what you do and who you are. And TJ’s character is flawless.”
John Osborne Sr. said, “We were so happy. It was one of the best days of my life, I can tell you.”
It’s a turning point, not just for Brothers Osborne but also for Nashville.
Mason asked, “What do you think of where things are in country music right now?”
“I’ve never been more proud to be part of country music than I am now in my life,” said John.
“Absolutely,” added TJ. “Country has been a pretty narrow alley for a long time, as it had to sound like, how it had to look. And that is slowly starting to change.”
John said, “This genre is beautiful and amazing, and the songwriting and performance is amazing. And it only gets better the more people we let in.”
“Dead Man’s Curve” from the album “Skeletons” by Brothers Osborne:
Brothers Osborne are Duo of the Year and Album of the Year nominations for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards, which will air on CBS and Paramount + on Sunday April 18 (8:00 p.m. ET live / PT delayed) .
Story produced by Amol Mhatre. Editor: George Pozderec.
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