Spinefarm Records/EMI Nashville
Mainstream Nashville Country with Added Edge and Grace.
In the maelstrom of albums that arrived a few weeks ago this nearly got lost, until I saw the nominations for the Grammys Country Single and saw the name Brothers Osborne!
So, it was hauled from the box I now hide albums in from Mrs Magpie and put it in the player while buying about the house this morning…..basically doing the ironing!
Mmmmmm….opening track Dirt Rich opens with some neat banjo and the brothers voices harmonise as only siblings can on a really neat song that transcends what I recognise as mainstream Country; sounding more like something I would associate with Yep Roc or Bloodshot Records.
Their second single (2014) Rum gets off to a bit of a raggedy false start and is all the better for it; and the song itself is the type of ‘Summery’ track I used to play on my old radio show a few years ago.
In the light of the current political ‘situation’ I was a bit nervous the first time I heard American Crazy; but while it’s still ‘blue collar’ in essence it’s a lot more fun and even innocent than I’d feared; owing a lot more to Bruce Springsteen that Toby Keith I’m pleased to say.
Interestingly, that song is followed by the snappy Greener Pastures, a classy Country ‘break up’ song in all its glory; featuring some red hot pedal steel in the middle 8.
The Brothers tread a very fine line a couple of times; falling just short of Pop Country on It Ain’t My Fault and Down Home; by adding some crunchy guitars and some deeply smart lyrics which had me lip-synching to on only the second listen.
Title track Pawn Shop is very nearly socio-political; detailing in words and deeds why many people are buying and selling their earthly goods just to get by these days; and the slide guitar throughout will cut your heartstrings to shreds too.
Young and good looking The Brother Osborne and with classy ‘love songs’ like Heart Shaped Locket, 21 Summer and the duet with Lee Ann Womack, Loving Me Back are a perfect fit for the current resurgence in Country music; especially among ‘young people.’
My copy includes three ‘bonus tracks’ with the sparse ballad Love The Lonely Out of You being quite extraordinary in the way it sounds; coming right out of left field to punch you in the heart.
The album closes with another ‘bonus track’ and one that competes for ‘favourite track’……Arms of Fire is the type of song that will stop you dead in your tracks when you hear it on the radio.
But, the song that caught my immediately caught my attention is the Hit Single and Grammy Nominated Stay a Little Longer. With a booty-scootin’ beat, love/lost/love theme and a harmony vocal to die for…..what’s not to like?
Who knows what the future holds for The Brothers Osborne? But this album is a refreshing change from the Country RAWK that has been prominent in Nashville for the last few years; with a wide variety of melodies (remember them), stories and timeless vocal performances from start to finish.
UK Release 8th February 2017
US Release 25th January 2017