I can’t stop playing this.
I discovered it on the Spotify playlist “Top 100 Country Tracks,” which I follow and have synched to my phone and when I’m burned out on the usual suspects I pull it up and see what’s going on in the country world.
And too many of the tracks are me-too.
But then I heard this.
I immediately pulled my phone out of my pocket to see who it was…BROTHERS OSBORNE?
Like in JEFFREY OSBORNE?
No, that’s not country music.
And I don’t know much about country music, I’ve just become inured to it because it’s picked up the flag of rock and roll and is running with it, when everybody who’s still playing that music has descended into narrow, unlistenable niches. So, is Brothers Osborne an old act or a new one? I’m confused. Because, like I said, I know Charlie Rich, but don’t quiz me on George Strait’s first fifty number ones, I’m clueless.
And I’m hooked from the very beginning.
It’s the PICKING!
And the sound. Intimate, without being depressing.
And I’m not sure what the guy is singing about, but his voice is mellifluous if not outstanding and then the song changes, at first it’s like a drive in the country, kind of like Danny O’Keefe’s gem, “Along For The Ride,” and then it switches completely, into a groove that’s more akin to pop than country, rhythmic, but infectious nonetheless. And then back to that ride in the car…
And at this point there’s a lead guitar. And I’m catching the lyric about taking t-shirts off each other, and I’m riding with the track, I’m enjoying it but it’s not a ten, and then that guitar starts to wail, they’re singing intensely, and two and a half minutes in, the track changes completely. You think it’s fading out, you’re enjoying the introspection and then…
A guitar comes in and starts jumping all over the track. Not high and trebly like on the metal cuts.
And then the guy starts picking faster, you’re digging it, but believing it’s going to fade out.
But it doesn’t.
The guy starts wailing.
And you’re waiting for the vocal to come back in, since there’s no fade-out in evidence.
But the cut gets quiet at 4:24 and then there’s an explosion of guitar, and then it’s intense and they’re picking at ten, it’s like an Outlaws track, “Green Grass And High Tides.”
And then it ends.
WHAT WAS THAT?
So I play it again.
And I’ve got that quiet, intimate picking… Is this really the same record?
And then there’s that change, and I’m fully hooked.
And then there’s that guitar wailing and when it ends I’ve got to hear it again and again and AGAIN!
I’m thinking this is closer to the Allman Brothers than country. It hearkens back to the seventies, when the guitar was king. And the guitar hasn’t been king for so long.
But we baby boomers, we remember.
We went to Manny’s, Sam Ash, we lusted after Fenders, we bought amps, we needed to replicate this sound. Hell, scratch a boomer and you’ll find out he’s got a rig in the garage and he practices and he’s got a pickup band and now that his kids are out of the house it’s what he LIVES FOR!
But these people don’t play new music, they just spin the oldies. The classics.
And I’m thinking if only they heard this…
And you should hear this Brothers Osborne track “Stay A Little Longer.”
There’s a demo on Spotify, I’ll include it in the playlist, it’s the same song but not the same record, it doesn’t have the same magic.
That intro picking, that hooks you immediately…it’s absent.
The change works, but despite having wailing at the end, absent the production the demo doesn’t succeed.
And let me reinforce, that wailing at the end of the single, produced version is not show-offy, it’s restrained, which is why you enjoy it so much.
So, even if you think you hate country, if you can appreciate a good guitar solo…
You’ve got to listen to this.
Hang in there. Be sure to ride past the 2:30 mark.
So far, this is not burning up the chart, it’s got some action, but it looks like it’s gonna stall.
Then again, all the legendary tracks from way back when were not hits, they were not made for the chart, but for the listener, who appreciated them. Hell, ” Fillmore East” broke the Allmans, but they didn’t have a hit until AFTER!
So, check this out.