Looking back, Brothers Osborne’s T.J. Osborne believes it was a risky move performing the duo’s new song “Weed, Whiskey and Willie” for the first time live on the Grand Ole Opry.
That night T.J. and his brother John Osborne thought it would be their final Opry performance due to the song’s take on self-medication.
“We thought if we get banned from the Opry, we’ll join the ranks of Hank Williams,” T.J. told CMT.com over the phone. “We weren’t sure whether some of the more conservative fans would be into or not.”
When they finished, the audience’s reaction surprised them. “We got a standing ovation for it,” T.J. recalled. “I think it’s just one of those songs that has great alliteration. It’s just fun, and it’s really country.”
The new ballad is from Brothers Osborne’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Port Saint Joe, and it’s a place where vices and heroes meet.
Co-written with hit-maker Laura Veltz, it’s about healing from heartbreak with the assistance of smoke, brown liquor and Willie Nelson on vinyl. John described it as one of the easiest songs to write for their new album.
“I had this really interesting idea about holding it together and letting go,” he recalled. “And T.J. was like, ‘What about vices and heroes hold music together while letting it go?’ That’s cool. What an odd way to say that. That’s when a collaborative process works really well when you have two ideas that are swimming around, and they just meet, and it just happens.”
Clocking in at four minutes and 20 seconds, it’s one of the serendipitous moments on Port Saint Joe. The album’s April 20 release was also unplanned. T.J. joked, “When your cosmic country stars align…”
Port Saint Joe gets its title from the Florida finishing town where they recorded the collection over two weeks in a beach house getaway. Mostly recorded live with Grammy-winning producer Jay Joyce, the album plays out like a rocking family vacation with the reigning vocal duo of the year, and it’s an authentic reflection of the duo’s dynamic musicality.
“There’s a lot of mistakes, and we didn’t leave the mistakes just to have a statement piece,” T.J. said. “We left them in there because we really felt like it was a live performance. That’s all we’re really trying to capture.”
Brothers Osborne left the 53rd annual ACM Awards early to ring in album release week in Denver, Co.
An all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown, airing Saturday and Sunday (April 21-22) at 9 a.m. ET, will have more from Brothers Osborne on Port Saint Joe.