If you think there’s nothing better than a smoldering ballad, Brothers Osborne has a song for you.
Yeah, the real-life, country-rocker brothers from Deale, Md., have a softer side. Tucked in between “Shoot Me Straight” and “Weed, Whiskey and Willie” near the beginning of the duo’s show Friday night at Robinson Performance Hall in Little Rock, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” was not only an early highlight of the concert, but also a fine showcase of TJ Osborne’s great voice as he sang about “the boy I used to be.” Turns out the guys who love to rock at full volume can also deliver a tender love song.
TJ, cleaner cut with shorter, slicked-back hair, is the lead singer and his vibrant, booming baritone also has a gentler side, pure and clear.
John, the other brother in the duo with three straight Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year awards, holds court on lead guitar, his shaggy hair and beard topped with a hat. It makes for a great combo.
After opening with “Drank Like Hank,” Brothers Osborne launched into “Shoot Me Straight,” a long jam of a song. (There were a lot of those throughout the night. The guys are fun to see in concert, but the versions of their songs the brothers perform live are definitely not radio cuts.) As for that WW&W song, well, we’ll just let a few lyrics fill you in on the tune that what looked to be pretty much a full house at Robinson really got into:
“I’ve got bottles and vinyl stacked to the ceilin’
I get stoned for survival, it helps with the healin’
And when it all goes to hell the only thing I believe in
Is weed, whiskey and Willie.”
That was followed by “Greener Pastures,” which, um, isn’t about fields where cows graze.
The boys had the crowd swaying along to “Tequila Again” as John switched instruments and displayed his considerable skills on the mandolin.
Other high spots included “Burning Man,” the hit on which they teamed up with Dierks Bentley, a great cover of the Steve Earle moonshine-and-marijuana anthem “Copperhead Road,” “It Ain’t My Fault” and “Stay a Little Longer.”
Singer-songwriter Devon Gilfillian opened the show and pleased with numbers like “Unchained” and “The Good Life,” a song about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.