Brothers Osborne: Self-Titled Album Review

Brothers Osborne’s brand new self-titled album is out now, September 15th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the new music below.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2015 with “Stay A Little Longer,” Brothers Osborne, made up of real life brothers John and TJ, have been one of country music’s most mysterious and enigmatic acts. Now, the mega-talented duo is pulling back the curtain with the release of their self-titled album, Brothers Osborne, their fourth full length on EMI Records Nashville.

For the Maryland natives, the release represents a seismic shift. They chose to move on from producer Jay Joyce, who helped craft the sound of their first three albums, to Mike Elizondo, in order to create what John describes as a “sounds first” album.

“We made a conscious decision very early on to make a hard turn into territories where we’ve never been before,” John continues. “Mike Elizondo is an avid instrument collector, specifically of guitar pedals and synthesizers, and we wanted to incorporate that. The song that bridges the gap between this album and our last is ‘Younger Me,’ which was very synth heavy. That’s the tie that binds Skeletons and the new album.”

While they dabble with new sounds on the LP, they never stray too far from their signatures: TJ’s distinct vocals and John’s incredible guitar prowess. “We’ve always had a lot of mystery intentionally around the things we have done, but with this album, we decided to be all in,” shares TJ. “And doing that reminded me of what it was like when I first started playing music, when it was an outlet for my angst or just a way to have fun.”

Of the album’s eleven new tracks, all were co-written by the brothers, who also enlisted the likes of Elizondo, Casey Beathard, Corey Crowder, Miranda Lambert, and Jessie Jo Dillon. Lambert also lends her vocals to “We Ain’t Good at Breaking Up,” a steamy track about a couple who just can’t seem to quit each other. “We wanted this album to be just John and I — which is why we’re self-titling it — but Miranda’s voice is like an instrument,” TJ reveals of the decision to include her on the song. “You don’t hear a lot of female vocals on our songs, and it helped create a tone and a texture.” 

A female background vocalist also adds a special layer to “Goodbye’s Kickin’ In,” a dark and almost 70’s-rock infused immediate album highlight. With it’s groovy baseline and bluesy rock sonic profile, the track about moving on after a breakup is something special. Likewise, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That” and “Love You Too” finds them experimenting with similarly new sounds. On “Ain’t,” there’s another hint of 70’s influence as they lyrically seize the day.

“Ain’t no time for blowing that smoke // No time for messing around // No small town talking out of both sides of your mouth // Don’t want a song that don’t turn me on…Half empty whiskey glass // Ain’t nobody got time for that”

Lyrically, much of the album centers on gratitude, optimism, and inclusion, fitting for the brothers who have experienced huge life changes as of late, with TJ coming out as gay in 2021 while John and his wife, Lucie Silvas, welcomed twins earlier this year. One such track is “Who Says You Can’t Have Everything,” a stirring and breezy mid-tempo that has a great singalong element. “If this ain’t rich then someone’s lying, If this takes money, I ain’t buying, I’m alive and kicking, laid back and living the dream,” TJ croons, his voice laced with emotion. “Who says you can’t have everything?”

“Nobody’s Nobody” is a powerful ode to inclusion, recognizing the importance of differences. “Sun goes up, sun goes down // It takes all kinds of kinds to make this world go ‘round,” they harmonize. “One thing I’ve learned out on the road is // Nobody’s nobody.”

There are also moments of levity on the album, with tracks like the alluring “New Bad Habit,” the funky “Might As Well Be Me” and the airy “Sun Ain’t Even Gone Down Yet.” While “Sun” is a playful take on day-drinking, “Might As Well Be Me” is a driving and radio-ready up-tempo celebration of seizing the day and raising some hell.

“Somebody gotta shake things up // Somebody gotta shut things down // Somebody gotta strike a match // Break the ice and buy the first round // Somebody gotta go all night // Somebody gotta dig down deep // Mean what they say // Say what they mean // Yeah, the way I see // Might as well be me”

“Back Home” is a dreamy mid-tempo which finds the brothers longing for home while they’re out on the road. It’s a stirring and relatable moment for anyone who’s ever longed to escape a small town, but then found themselves longing for that simpler way of life. “I was living just to make it, so I was dying to escape it,” TJ muses. “It turns out there ain’t nothing in the world like being gone, to make you wanna go back home.”

The album’s closing track, “Rollercoaster (Forever and a Day)” may be one of the duo’s most sonically unique: a full-blown piano ballad with a string section. While it’s a poignant look at love and the fact that it’s not always perfect, it shows that John and TJ aren’t afraid to evolve and explore new sounds.  “It’s the most un-Brothers Osborne thing to do,” John teases. “And then we threw strings on it! We said, ‘F**k it. Whatever happens, happens.’”   

For Brothers Osborne, this LP is truly a special offering, allowing the duo to go back to their roots, while also spreading their musical wings. “This is a defining record at this point in our career, where we needed to put it all on our shoulders,” TJ says. “And we did. Like it was when we were growing up, it’s just John and me.”

Brothers Osborne Track List:

  1. Who Says You Can’t Have Everything (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Casey Beathard)
  2. Nobody’s Nobody (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Mike Elizondo, Kendell Marvel)
  3. Might As Well Be Me (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Corey Crowder, Julian Bunetta)
  4. Sun Ain’t Even Gone Down Yet (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Corey Crowder)
  5. Goodbye’s Kickin’ In (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Lee Miller, Mike Elizondo)
  6. Love You Too (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Jessie Jo Dillon, Jesse Frasure)
  7. New Bad Habit (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Lee Miller)
  8. We Ain’t Good At Breaking Up (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Jesse Frasure, Miranda Lambert)
  9. Back Home (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Lee Miller)
  10. Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Jaren Johnston, Lee Miller)
  11. Rollercoaster (Forever And A Day) (John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Jamie Hartman)

Country Swag Picks:

  1. Might As Well Be Me
  2. Who Says You Can’t Have Everything 
  3. Goodbye’s Kickin’ In
  4. Rollercoaster (Forever and a Day)

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Brothers Osborne announcements and releases.

Brothers Osborne will be hitting the stage at New York City’s Pier 17 on October 5.

To keep up with Brothers Osborne, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Brothers Osborne available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.