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Brothers Osborne

Pawn Shop – 2016 (EMI Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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These Brothers Osborne - TJ and John - are not be confused with those Osborne Brothers - Bobby and Sonny. While the former have a long long way to go beyond they reach the stature of one of the leading bluegrass duos in the genre, the newbies show they are onto something - in the country sector.

Brothers Osborne have Outlaw Country and swampy ("Dirt Rich," "Pawn Shop") vibes going on filling their southern rock-veering debut, a follow-up on a September 2014 EP (two of the EP songs are reprised here).

T.J. Osborne has one full-barreled voice that takes center stage from the opening of "Dirt Rich." If you didn't know any better, you'd think that Trace Adkins was one of the brothers. Osborne has that sonorous, ultra deep voice with a lot of command in his delivery.

As for John Osborne, he handles a chunk of the guitar licks, sometimes steely, sometimes twangy, sometimes rocking, among other instruments.

With the Maryland-bred brothers having a share in writing most of the 11 songs, they also had the knack for coming up with song after song with musical crunch and bite. With most of the songs hovering around the three-minute mark, the Osbornes waste not time in getting into the heart of the songs.

While the protagonist in the closing "It's Ain't My Fault" passes the blame for a bar fight, the writing follows an interesting path: "blame smoke on a fire/blame fire on the smoke/blame the fight on a bouncer/That couldn't take a joke/But it's not my fault." The lyrical back-and-forth continues throughout the song.

In what's becoming more common place in country music, "Greener Pastures" extolls the joys of getting high to cure life's ills.

The CD version of the hit single "Stay a Little Longer" is a lot meatier than what's on radio. The song starts off quieter with John's mandolin setting the mid-tempo pace, chugging along with a percolating, more uptempo bridge until Osborne's fluid guitar playing takes over for an extended instrumental coda. Lee Ann Womack lends her expressive voice on the more overtly country sounding "Loving Me Back."

No weak songs here. Brothers Osborne, who started this album more than two years ago, have the right name when it comes to making music. They're just doing it a different way.