Brothers Osborne on Music’s Responsibility

T.J. Osborne: “Artists Are Supposed to Speak for People.”

Depending on who wins, the environment in the CMA Awards’ backstage media center changes every year. And if any member of the press was escorted out of the area for not following the 2017 media guidelines, it went unnoticed.

On Friday (Nov. 3), the CMA apologized to reporters for implementing a restriction against questions about tragic events that have occurred in America within the last year. The rule was lifted, and it was only mentioned during Wednesday’s (Nov. 8) telecast as light comedy in Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood‘s opening monologue.

The mood of the 2017 press conferences reflected the usual celebratory commentary that has happened during previous CMA Awards. Brothers Osborne‘s T.J. Osborne was the only CMA winner to talk about country music’s ability to address subjects that are hard to discuss in an everyday conversation. He said that’s what makes the genre great.

“Merle Haggard, all those guys they were so bad ass because they spoke up for every American in the country,” he said, “not just some — all of them. We have our party songs, and we like to have a good time, but they were true artists. They said things that mattered to people, and I think that is absolutely the coolest thing about country music. It’s been a little lost lately. We hope that we can bring it back.

He added that he doesn’t know if that will happen on their follow-up to Pawn Shop, which is in the works.

“Walking the red carpet, that was coming to the forefront of both of our minds … especially with the political climate coming out of a lot of controversy over gun control, a lot of controversy around Route 91 and all the feelings that surround all of that.

“We’re all very sensitive for very rightful reasons. It’s very close to home. Me and my brother have been on an emotional roller coaster since that event. Even still, I almost broke out in tears on the red carpet even thinking how crazy that is.

He added that it is every artist’s responsibility to speak for people when they are without words to express themselves.

“They’re supposed to be a release for people,” he said. “We get to write songs that are therapy for us. And then the best thing that you can have — above the money, above the awards, above anything — is if you could have that song that was therapy for you, and it relates to a listener. And it helps them through the same thing that you were trying to get through. So you can’t even put it into words how amazing that is.”

Brothers Osborne also won the night’s unofficial award for “best use explicit language.” Throughout their nine-minute Q&A with reporters backstage, the three-time CMA winners peppered their answers with at least eight cuss words.

While showing off their new crystal bullets for photographers, the younger Obsorne jokingly said, “We did it again! We did this [expletive] mother [expletive]!”

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 08:  Recording Artists TJ. Osborne and John Osborne of Brothers Osborne celebrate winning Vocal Duo of the year during 51st annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Davis/FilmMagic) Jason Davis/FilmMagic
Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.