Brothers Osborne’s Port Saint Joe
The latest album from Brothers Osborne brings the band beachside with laidback vibes.
Written By: Nathan Diller
Photographers: Alysse Gafkjen
“Slow Your Roll,” the first track on Brothers Osborne’s new album, Port Saint Joe, opens with the sound of crashing waves and acoustic guitar, a fitting start to an album recorded at the beach. Fresh off a two-year run of promotion and touring following the release of their 2016 debut, Pawn Shop, the duo, which consists of brothers John and TJ Osborne, made the new record at producer Jay Joyce’s vacation home in Port Saint Joe, Florida, where they enjoyed a more laidback schedule.
“We woke up at about 10:30, we would have breakfast, we would relax, we would sit out and watch the gulf, and we would walk, literally barefoot, down to his house on the beach, and we would just start kind of jamming,” lead guitarist John recalls. “And it never really felt like it was an official recording session, or there was never any pressure to get anything done or a timeframe. We just played.”
The brothers, who have won Vocal Duo of the Year at the CMAs for the past two years, stayed in a house five doors down from Joyce’s and recorded all the songs over two weeks. They recorded many live in the living room and would walk into the kitchen afterward, where Joyce’s brother was often cooking burgers or chili.
Lead single “Shoot Me Straight,” an up-tempo, six-minute rocker with a husky, guitar-led outro, was recorded on a night when they had friends over to the house for dinner. They’d recorded two other versions of the song, neither of which felt right, and decided to perform the song to their guests—that ended up being the take they chose. There’s audible chatter and laughter at the end, and the guys decided to keep those sounds.
>>> Stream Port Saint Joe on Spotify
The album is a natural progression from the rugged country-rock of the duo’s last LP, which was also co-produced by Joyce, who’s known for his work with artists like Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town. The songs on Port Saint Joe showcase their vocal chops and guitar prowess, and the lyrics are clever and candid. “Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive)” is a ‘til-death-do-us-part ballad, and, on the funky “A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright,” lead vocalist TJ sings, “I’m always late, and you got it together, dry as a bone in stormy weather / And at its worst, it couldn’t get much better, a couple wrongs makin’ it alright.”
And, while they call Music City home, the setting in Port Saint Joe helped create an anything-goes environment.
“Just simply being out of Nashville, I think, was a really big help,” TJ says. “Here, it’s hard to not be stuck in the bubble of how Nashville is. … You can sometimes lose perspective on who you are when you’re trying so hard to worry about what other opinions are, or what the commercial thing to do is, or, even on the other end of it, what the critically acclaimed thing to do would be. We were just like, ‘Yeah, let’s just go play music and just have fun. Let’s not overthink this.’”