Skeletons (Deluxe)

Skeletons (Deluxe)

It’s thanks to some combination of powerfully persuasive musicianship and sheer stubbornness that Brothers Osborne carved out a place for themselves in the country music landscape during the latter half of the 2010s. TJ Osborne’s guttural, low-slung lead vocals, languid phrasing, and bluesy bends are situated at the intersection of old-school country, R&B, and Southern rock, and never venture into country pop’s presently dominant mode of emulating hip-hop. Big brother John Osborne serves as co-lead on guitar, putting muscular, incisive playing squarely in the spotlight at a time when beatmaking has much more of a presence in the format than shredding solos. On their first album, 2016’s Pawn Shop, they proved that they're in touch with commercially accessible songwriting sensibilities. By the follow-up, 2018’s Port Saint Joe, they and their bandmates—the rare Nashville outfit to do double duty on stage and in studio—were stretching out. On 2020’s Skeletons, the Osbornes and the rest of their crew, including their longtime producer Jay Joyce, really stoke the dynamic tension between hooks, licks, and grooves and showcase what a deep pocket they have as a band. Partway through "All Night," the sinewy propulsion gives way to the barbed, sneaky precision of John's guitar vamp. During "All the Good Ones Are," funky guitar rhythms graze a meaty, countrified dance-rock backbeat. They also dig into more personal territory in their songwriting, particularly on a new deluxe edition. “Younger Me,” one of three new tracks on the deluxe re-release, is one of the duo’s greatest songs yet, with TJ, who came out as gay in 2021, assuring his younger self, “If only he knew he’d be all right.” “The song was extremely important for us,” TJ Osborne tells Apple Music. “Maybe one of the most important songs that we've written for us, and personal in so many ways, for both John and I. We knew that it needed to be on a record.”

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