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Brothers Osborne provide the transport

House of Blues, Boston, January 24, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Brothers Osborne has not taken the fast track to success once they signed on the dotted line with EMI Nashville. An EP came out in 2014, often a forerunner to a full-length. But with no hits on the EP, the full-length did not come out until 2016.

Maybe the wait was worth it because both on recordings and live, lead singer T.J. and guitarist/mandolinist John Osborne certainly hit their stride in one powerfully engaging lengthy night of music.

Brothers Osborne are the complete package of singing, playing and songcraft. T.J. Osborne, as usual, was a commanding singer with an ever unusually powerful, vibrant voice. Smartly, he was mixed way high. He is clearly one of the best country singers out there. Brother John did his part quite capably on guitar with lots of worthy licks. Sometimes he went the blues route and was certainly comfy in that genre as well.

Brothers Osborne are not exactly country traditionalists, although they could play that. Instead, they are more rock oriented with touches of the blues.

With those sounds informing the music, Brothers Osborne got into drinking as one of the themes, from the start with "Drank Like Hank" from their Grammy nominated "Port Saint Joe" CD from last year. They would later follow it up with "Weed, Whiskey and Willie" and "Tequila Again."

Yet, they didn't stay one trick ponys either with the pretty sounding hit "21 Summer," replete with mandolin and the current single and well delivered "I Don't Remember Me (Before You)." Encore lead-off song "A Couple of Wrongs Makin' It Right" had a sort of a funky New Orleans feel.

As for covers, if it could be called that, they turned in a worthy "Burning Man." Of course, the song is a hit for Dierks Bentley, but features the brothers.

High praise was particularly due for Brothers Osborne for their take on Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road." The country rock song was a perfect fit with John supplying the mandolin (Interestingly, Earle was in town the night before playing the song solo acoustic).

The tour de force was the closing song of the regular set, "It Ain't My Fault." With an almost three-minute intro from TJ, the band then played on for a dozen more minutes of a smartly written song with yet more guitar heroics from John and a lengthy keyboard segment from Billy Justineau. The concert could have ended right there.

T.J. uttered the standard yap near the end that the band would play for a long time. Hey, it was a Thursday night after all, he said. Where did everyone have to go? Brothers Osborne did not play forever, but they did stay more than a little longer with a seven-song encore. So, T.J. couldn't be accused of being filled with hot air.

In truth, the encore flagged slightly, maybe no surprise given "It Ain't My Fault." They weren't afraid to dip back to that EP with the rocking "Shoot From the Hip" and the bluesy "Love the Lonely Out of You," both of which probably would have fit better into the regular set.

Brothers Osborne may not have played straightforward country music of yesteryear, but they closed with a somewhat truncated version of what is surely considered country today, John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." The song celebrates the beauty of the land. Perhaps metaphorically Brothers Osborne quickly transported their fans - for two hours anyway - into a night of magical, beautiful music. That was their fault.

Nashville band The Wild Feathers were a good fit for the headliners. With songs often featuring three lead singers, the country/roots rock material sounded good from the lead off "Quittin' Time" to the closing "The Ceiling."

The Wild Feathers would not be accused of being originals. Dawes shares the same musical territory. It seems almost required these days to pay homage to Tom Petty, and they did so with "Won't Back Down." Yes, they did a credible cover, but it's also starting to sound almost cliched to cover Petty. Nevertheless, The Wild Feathers did their job well.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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