Well first let’s get the big question out of the way — yes, Brothers Osborne are actually brothers. And though they may not be for everyone, they’ve certainly found a fan base that’s excited to cheer them on at the Academy of Country Music Awards this Sunday, April 16th. Their debut album Skeletons has been nominated for Album of the Year, and the pair themselves are up as well, for Duo of the Year (via Academy of Country Music).
Their hit, “Not for Everyone,” is a catchy one, and one that one could imagine sounding just as great piped through an old truck stereo as it would with a stadium full of fans singing along. Its laid back approach to just being yourself, whether folks like you or not, is pretty universally appealing. The lyrics compare the singer (singers?) to scotch, zydeco, and dive bars, then saying, “If I were Sweet Tea I’d be bitter / If you took a drink you might reconsider,” but adds later in the verse that their metaphorical dive bar is open to all 24/7. As noted by Taste of Country, this “I’m just being me” vibe is a touchstone of the country music ethos, and one that resonates with a broad swath of fans. I mean, who wouldn’t love a night of scotch and zydeco at a dive bar?
T.J. Osborne knows what it's like to not be for everyone
But, like Kasey Musgraves’ 2013 hit, “Follow Your Arrow,” this iteration of the “You be You, I’ll be Me” message is given with a bit of a wink and a jab at a genre known for heralding mainstream conservatism, and squashing deviation. Ever since The Chicks were blacklisted for opposing the Iraq War, the threat of being ousted has loomed large. Even pop/country crossover megastars like Taylor Swift were kept politically silent for years by the threat. “I saw how one comment ended such a powerful reign, and it terrified me,” she told Variety. “You’re always one comment away from being done being able to make music.”
But T.J. Osborne is hoping to take a different approach. Though other artists have waited until they “hit it big” before saying anything that could raise eyebrows, T.J. took the calculated risk of coming out of the closet while still on the rise. As the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label, he hopes that fans will love him for who he is and the music he and John make, not for who they think he is.
When coming out, T.J. told Time magazine, “I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am.” Even if it means he’s not for everyone.
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