Brothers re­lease CD

Writer pre­dicts ‘Pawn Shop’ by Brothers Os­borne will be among the top 20 coun­try record­ings of the year

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ISLAND WEEKEND - Doug Gal­lant On Track Doug Gal­lant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his mu­sic re­view col­umn for The Guardian ev­ery week. He wel­comes com­ments from read­ers at dgal­lant@the­guardian.pe.ca or 629-6000, ext. 6057.

The ma­jor la­bel de­but by Brothers Os­borne is an early con­tender for coun­try record­ing of the year. The Mary­land duo of J.T. and John Os­borne has a big, bold coun­try/rock sound that’s strikes all the right chords. They’re fea­tured in this week­end’s On Track col­umn.

Less than a month into a new year it would seem more than a lit­tle pre­ma­ture to start spec­u­lat­ing about the best records of 2016.

But I’m go­ing to throw cau­tion to the wind here.

When all is said and done “Pawn Shop” by Brothers Os­borne will be among the top 20 coun­try record­ings of the year.

Brothers T.J. and John Os­borne have be­come a fix­ture on my iTunes player the past few days on the strength of ma­te­rial like “Dirt Rich” “21 Sum­mer”, “Stay A Lit­tle Longer” and “Greener Pas­tures.”

T.J., the older of the two, has one of those nat­u­ral deep bari­tone voices that was made to sing hell raisin’ honky tonk an­thems, coun­try rock­ers and soar­ing coun­try bal­lads. Se­ri­ous pipes. Se­ri­ous tal­ent.

Brother John is a wicked gui­tar player who is as com­fort­able play­ing some­thing cool, mel­low and laid-back as he is with a slick blue­grass lick, torch and twang ma­te­rial or some­thing big, bad and bluesy, a la the All­man Brothers, who were one of his early in­flu­ences grow­ing up in a small fish­ing town in Mary­land.

To­gether J.T. and John make a for­mi­da­ble duo.

Pawn Shop, the band’s first full-length al­bum, is a hale and hearty mix of coun­try, blues and rock with an al­most big­ger than life sound. It’s like Phil Spec­tor’s wall-of-sound, ap­plied to coun­try in­stead of pop, al­though there are cer­tainly pop el­e­ments to the Brothers Os­borne sound as well.

As kids J.T. and John spent a lot of time lis­ten­ing to their father’s di­verse record col­lec­tion. Theirs was a very mu­si­cal house­hold with a lot of late-night jam ses­sions where fam­ily and friends cranked out the mu­sic of Bob Seger, Hank Wil­liams, Tom Petty, and Ge­orge Jones, all of whom helped shape their sound as they be­gan to write.

The Os­borne sib­lings strummed their first chords dur­ing those jam ses­sions.

They gen­er­ated some at­ten­tion a lit­tle while back with an EP that fea­tured “Stay a Lit­tle Longer” and “Rum,” but noth­ing like the at­ten­tion they should gen­er­ate with this full set. Both the above songs from their EP are in­cluded here by the way.

Pawn Shop of­fers a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing. There’s bluesy slide gui­tar, coun­try duets, south­ern rock so­los, har­monies, and plenty of big grooves. The hooks are big, the gui­tars are loud, and the songs are as­s­kick­ers.

All the ma­te­rial is orig­i­nal, writ­ten with a lit­tle help here and there from award-win­ning song­writ­ers like Shane McA­nally and Ross Cop­per­man. Much of the ma­te­rial was penned in Nashville but they also wrote a lot on the road. They’ve spent a lot of time on the road, head­lin­ing their own club shows and tour­ing the coun­try with folks like Dar­ius Rucker and Eric Church.

Ex­ten­sive tour­ing has helped shape them into a force to be reck­oned with.

“Most duos are built on singing,” T.J. said re­cently. “But John is an in­cred­i­ble gui­tar player, and this band is built on me singing and John play­ing gui­tar. It gives us two par­al­lels that work nicely to­gether.”

Brother John says they take an old-school rock ap­proach and cites Aero­smith and the All­man Brothers as in­flu­ences on the duo’s dy­namic. “Groups like that al­ways had the lead singer as well as the side­man gui­tar player. That’s what we’re go­ing for, too. We’re carv­ing our own path in coun­try mu­sic.”

And they are most cer­tainly on the right path.

(Rat­ing 4 out of 5 stars)

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Brothers Os­borne fol­low up their im­pres­sive EP with a solid ma­jor la­bel de­but, Pawn Shop, which show­cases both their song­writ­ing and per­for­mance chops.

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