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Brothers Osborne on Changes in Country Music, Chance of CMA Three-peat

When Brothers Osborne snapped Florida Georgia Line’s three-year run as Vocal Duo of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards, it was a pivotal moment in country music. The Deale, Maryland, sibling duo of singer TJ Osborne and guitarist John Osborne represented a return to the rootsy side of the genre, while bro-country kings FGL were the epitome of slick and polished radio country. Now the once underdog Brothers Osborne have the chance to three-peat at this year’s CMA Awards, airing live November 14th on ABC.

“All genres of music get to be repetitious after a while,” says the bearded John, 36, sitting next to his younger brother in an East Nashville cocktail bar. “And sometimes a bomb needs to be detonated.”

Brothers Osborne, along with other country game-changers like Chris Stapleton and Ashley McBryde, are setting off explosions throughout the format with a mix of old-school country and guitar-forward rock. The Osbornes’ latest album, Port Saint Joe, overseen by rock-minded producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church), is a breath of fresh air for a genre still unwilling to make a clean break from its homogenized recent past.

“We can’t be anything other than ourselves,” says TJ, 33, “Whether that gets us into trouble sometimes or if that’s our charm, I don’t know.”

Their against-the-grain approach has certainly earned them a passionate fan base, one more eager to hear stompers like “It Ain’t My Fault” and the outsized “Shoot Me Straight” — a fierce seven-minute jam — live in concert than any country radio-approved hit. Their latest single is the delicate ballad “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You).”

“More people respond to ‘It Ain’t My Fault’ than to the Number One we had, ‘Stay a Little Longer,’” says TJ. “The [industry] just wants to put their signs up on Music Row, and put out

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