HOLMDEL, N.J. — Hats off to Dierks Bentley for tabbing the Brothers Osborne as an opener for his current tour. Some recording artists are down with young, emerging talent as support acts, while others aren’t so crazy about being potentially upstaged.
The Brothers Osborne — vocalist T.J. Osborne and guitarist John Osborne — hail from Maryland. The duo impressed during an all-too-brief 10-song set while supporting Bentley on May 19 at the PNC Bank Arts Center. A number of Bentley’s fans stood and cheered.
The charismatic siblings are brothers, but do not file the tandem under the maligned bro-country subgenre.
The Brothers Osborne, who will perform Friday on the Riverside Casino’s outdoor stage, have more in common with the outlaw artists, such as Chris Stapleton, than the artists who are climbing the chart.
“We’re just ourselves up there,” John Osborne said. “We do what we want to do.”
“Weed, Whiskey & Willie,” “Tequila Again” and the amusing “Drank Like Hank” are feel-good songs, but they’re not designed for high-fives.
The Brothers Osborne is an uncompromising pair, which plays as hard as when the two are working.
“We put everything we have into this,” Osborne said. “We go all out, but we do have fun.”
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Considering the content, it’s not surprising that the brothers’ latest album, “Port Saint Joe,” dropped on April 20.
“Things are changing,” Osborne said. “How marijuana was viewed for so long was crazy. There was also this wrong information about pot. It was always such a big deal when someone like Willie (Nelson) wrote about pot. We have all of these songs about drinking. Why can’t we have songs about marijuana?”
The face of country is changing and the Brothers Osborne are part of it. “Port Saint Joe” and their 2016 debut, “Pawn Shop,” sound as if they were recorded deep in the South by brothers who came of age in Dixie.
“Everyone thinks we’re from Alabama or some place like that,” Osborne said. “But reality is very different.”
The brothers, who won the CMA’s Vocal Duo of the Year award, grew up just south of the Mason-Dixon Line in Maryland.
“It’s funny how that worked out, since we’re from an area that’s more mid-Atlantic more than anything,” Osborne said. “When we moved to Nashville, we were looked at like we were Yankees, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. In New York we would be looked at like we were rednecks. We were outsiders.”
But their talent as musicians has changed everything for them. The act is rising rapidly. During their set in Bruce Springsteen country, many Bentley fans avoided the concession stands and approved of the material and performance by the energetic tandem.
“It’s always great to get positive feedback,” Osborne said. “We’ve had a great response opening shows.”
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Part of the appeal of the Brothers Osborne’s music is that the band, headlining Friday in Riverside, is utterly transparent. The act’s take on politics, drinking and working are apparent.
“We grew up in a blue collar/very red area, but my brother and I are very liberal,” Osborne said. “But it was fine. We were ourselves and our friends and family were fine with it. We were fine with them.
“Everybody is not going to be the same. The differences people have are what makes people interesting. We have no problem with anyone and we definitely don’t have a problem telling people what’s on our mind.”
The brothers are following in a long tradition of country icons, who spoke the truth, such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.
“You can’t be afraid to say anything,” Osborne said. “You look back at all of these great country artists, who are no longer with us. They wrote about what they thought — and didn’t care. We’re the same way. We’re not worried about hits. We just want to make the best music possible.”
WHAT: Brothers Osborne
WHERE: Riverside Casino outdoor stage, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday (6/22); gates open 6:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $35 to $65, Casino Gift Shop, 1-(877) 677-3456 or Riversidecasinoandresort.com/events/outdoor-concert.html
EXTRAS: All-ages show; reserved seating for Tier 1; Tier 2 is general admission, bring lawn chairs; no smoking, outside coolers, beverages
ARTISTS’S WEBSITE: Brothersosborne.com