Album Review: Brothers Osborne’s ‘Port Saint Joe’

Brothers Osborne retreated to Port Saint Joe, a small town on the Florida coast, to record their sophomore album. Fittingly titled Port Saint Joe, the 10-track release was produced by Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Little Big Town) and continues where their 2016 critically acclaimed debut Pawn Shop left off.

The band co-wrote each of the 10 tracks, which features TJ Osborne’s distinct baritone and John Osborne’s impressive guitar slinging. The relaxed location of the Florida coast seeps its way into the project as can be heard on opening track “Slow Your Roll,” where the ocean waves introduce the album.

The reigning ACM and CMA Vocal Duo of the Year took a different approach this time around. Rather than spend multiple weeks throughout the year in the studio, the band planned to capture the record in one sitting at Joyce’s beach house in Florida. The relaxed location inspired Brothers Osborne to focus on the music instead of chasing radio singles. As a result, each song runs into the next, creating a unique listening experience. This can be heard best on their commanding single “Shoot Me Straight,” which includes a captivating guitar interlude at the close of the song that ties into the nostalgic “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You).”

Brothers Osborne

Brothers Osborne; Photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen

Additionally, the album spans a broad spectrum of sounds and musical influences. While writing the country waltz “Tequila Again,” Brothers Osborne envisioned Willie Nelson cutting the tune for Red Headed Stranger. Meanwhile, “A Little Bit Trouble” evokes an old R&B and soul flavor, one of the many sounds they grew up listening to. Later, on the bluesy “Weed, Whiskey and Willie,” Brothers Osborne sing of how their vices and the country legend help them get through a difficult breakup. “When it all goes to hell the only thing I believe in is weed, whiskey and Willie,” they sing.

While Brothers Osborne are well known for bringing the guitar slinging on their rock fueled tracks, their sensitive side is also showcased throughout Port Saint Joe. Songs like the ode to lifetime love, “Pushing Up Daisies,” and powerful album closer “While You Still Can,” penned with Travis Meadows, strike a chord. On the latter, TJ sings of the importance of making amends with old friends, talking with your mom on the phone, and living each day like it could be your last. A message that stays with the listener long after the song ends, “While You Still Can” is one of the album’s standout moments.

“Time slips through your fingers just like sand / ‘Cause everything you thought would last forever never lasts forever like you planned / Don’t let your now become a never so take life by the hands while you still can,” they sing.

On Port Saint Joe, Brothers Osborne prove exactly why they are the reigning ACM and CMA Vocal Duo of the Year. Their standout musicianship and powerful lyrics heard throughout the album make for a memorable and unique experience that only continues to grow with each listen.