Osborne Brothers Carry Inclusiveness Message On CMA Stage | WGN 720 radio
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – When the Osborne brothers take the stage at the CMA Awards on Wednesday, the award-winning duo will have a powerful message for fans who sometimes feel like strangers – an experience they know all too well.
The brothers in Deale, MD have spoken in recent months about their private lives and personal struggles, with lead singer TJ speaking publicly as gay and guitarist John speaking about his anxiety.
The song they will play, “Younger Me”, is a poignant reminder that things are getting better. They are proof of that.
“The fact that we get to play a song that means so much, especially to me, at a country music awards show, is one of those things that somehow transcends so the awards themselves, the money itself, the fame, âsaid TJ Osborne.
The four-time CMA award-winning duo are up for three awards, including Album of the Year for “Skeletons,” the first time they’ve been nominated in this category.
Even recording their album felt like a series of obstacles to overcome. They initially had to delay the recording while John Osborne took time off from therapy to deal with his depression and anxiety which had become so severe that he was seriously reconsidering his music career.
” I had to leave. I had to turn off my phone. I had to be away from my family, âsaid John Osborne. âI had to restart.
One thing he learned, and continued to learn later when COVID-19 hit, was that the world wasn’t going to end if he hit the pause button.
When they resumed recording, TJ was the victim of salmonella poisoning, then a tornado hit Nashville in March 2020, cutting power in the East Nashville neighborhood where they were recording.
By the time they returned to complete the album, the coronavirus pandemic and closures had started.
“So there was an element in the recording of ‘Skeletons’ that made it feel like it was the end of time, you know,” said John Osborne. âI was like, this might actually be the last record we’ve ever made in our lives, and let’s record it like it is. And it’s always like that for me. We threw all of our chips on the table.
While TJ Osborne was open about his sexuality with his close friends and family, doubts kept him from deciding when to announce it publicly. Other country artists have waited years to come out publicly, such as Chely Wright and later Ty Herndon, citing concerns about the effect it could have on their careers.
While there are many other openly gay artists and songwriters working in country music currently, including Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Brooke Eden, Shane McAnally, and Lily Rose, Osborne is one of the most prominent.
âCountry music is a wonderful genre,â said John Osborne. âBut there has been that kind of undercurrent ofâ¦ there is a safe and only certain people are allowed in. However, when you go to shows, you see people from all walks of life enjoying it. . “
TJ Osborne’s decision to go out publicly also prompted them to address controversial political conversations over LGBTQ issues, particularly in Tennessee. Tennessee is leading the country in enacting new laws that target transgender people, including banning trans athletes from playing girls’ sports in public schools.
When a state lawmaker blocked a state motion for a resolution to honor TJ Osborne earlier this year, they met with Republican State Representative Jeremy Faison over lunch to chat.
“It kind of gave the message that maybe gay or LGBTQ people are still not really accepted in this state,” TJ Osborne said. “And while that may be true in parts of our state, I don’t feel like it’s in Nashville, and I think it’s a very tolerant city here.”
After the resolution was blocked, the Osborne brothers released their music video for âYounger Meâ using the steps of the state capital as a backdrop.
The black-and-white video, which is nominated for CMA Music Video of the Year, features the band and several youngsters singing the lyrics.
The Osborne brothers wanted others to see a different message coming from the Capitol building – a message of inclusiveness and acceptance.
âThere is always this other great movement here of peopleâ¦ who take up and will speak up and be there for you with open arms,â said TJ Osborne. “And you are not alone.”
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This story has been updated to correct the spelling of TJ Osborne’s first name without dots.
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