Brothers Osborne Plan Their Future by Looking to the Musical Past

Appear on CMT Hot 20 Countdown From New Orleans on Saturday (Jan. 14)

The CMA’s reigning duo of the year and new Grammy nominees Brothers Osborne deserve more trophies for being two of the biggest music nerds on Music Row.

On an all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown airing Saturday (Jan. 14), Katie Cook is in New Orleans with TJ and John Osborne, and their priority No. 1 after the interview involves finding a female street clarinetist who plays regularly in the French Quarter. But there was just one problem — they can’t remember her name.

“I’m gonna find her,” John promised. “She’s one of the most soulful musicians I’ve ever heard in my life. She’s literally in the middle of the street with a basket in front of her playing for money. That’s performance at its rawest. And she’s so genuine and real. There’s a lot to learn from people like that.”

They also wouldn’t mind seeking out New Orleans jazz legend and pianist Ellis Marsalis, who is regarded as one of the greatest music educators in the U.S. Marsalis imparted his knowledge of jazz to students like Harry Connick, Jr., trumpeter Terence Blanchard and his four sons, Branford, Delfeayo, Jason and Wynton.

“The Marsalis family are royalty here in New Orleans,” John said. “I wanna get a chance to speak with him. I might freak out a little bit, so I gotta prepare for that.”

Several musical influences — everything from Texas swing by Bob Wills to Alan Jackson — can be heard on Brothers Osborne’s debut album Pawn Shop, which was released a year ago Sunday (Jan. 15).

“We grew up listening to a lot of that stuff,” TJ said. “It sounds cliché, [we listened to] endless amounts of Merle Haggard – and I think that’s one of the bigger influences on me — to Bob Wills to George Jones, Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam. All these people, they transcend the genre. They’re very country, but they are so amazing and awesome. Even if you don’t like country music, people just revere that style because it’s just so genuine. It’s pretty hard to listen to it and not be influenced by it.”

“A lot of those guys from ‘90s era country were basically singer songwriters,” TJ added, “and I think that is something that we always looked at, admired and wanted to emulate. We really wanted to take part in creating these songs and perform something that would be honest and true from who we are.”

Watch the full Crescent City adventure on CMT Hot 20 Countdown airing Saturday (Jan. 14) and Sunday (Jan 15) at 9 a.m. ET.

The all-new episode will include behind-the-scenes footage from the set of Thomas Rhett’s “Star of the Show” music video and a Cody Alan interview with Blake Shelton on his Ole Red Nashville bar coming to Lower Broadway in 2018.

Take Hot 20 anywhere using a smartphone with the new and improved CMT app, available on the App Store, Google Play and CMT.com.