Sorry TJ Osborne, I Love Ya, But You’re (Mostly) Wrong

Dude, it ain’t our fault. Not totally.

By kncitom on June 24, 2019

John and TJ Osborne, aka The Brothers Osborne, are never afraid to speak their minds, which I totally respect. I wish more artists would be less filtered. But, when you do that, you need to be ready for push-back and in this case–even though I’m 5’11 and 55 years old and they’re each 6’4 and in their physical and creative prime–I gotta. 

In recent interview published by, TJ said when they first started getting played on country radio, the music was “…bad. It was so bad it was almost hard for me to listen to.” 


He went on to say country radio “…has really changed in stride, and there’s a lot more artistry and individuality out there“.

Now, the comments were made as part of a larger interview about the Brothers hearing their music on the radio, so the focus wasn’t a hit piece about country radio, at all. But, his words “so bad it was hard for me to listen to” just kind of bugged me. I’ll be the first to admit there’s plenty to criticize about country radio but in this instance–unless there is more to the quote that wasn’t printed–TJ is off the mark.

I did little checking …their debut single, a song called “Let’s Go There“, was released in 2013. Some of the top songs from that year that were being played on country radio


Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

Wagon Wheel

Runnin’ Outta Moonlight

It Goes Like This

How Country Feels

Highway Don’t Care

Boys Round Here

Maybe you don’t like some of them, but those are not “bad” songs.

But, I’m assuming the single TJ is talking about is “Stay A Little Longer“, which was a top five song when it was released in 2015. Some of the biggest songs from that year?

Burning House

Die A Happy Man

I’m Comin’ Over

Tennessee Whiskey

Humble and Kind

Girl In a Country Song

Smoke Break

Mr. Misunderstood

Again, are any of those “bad“? Was country radio somehow wrong for playing them? 

To his other point that musically, country radio is more artistic now: hasn’t artistry in popular music always been present, albeit some years it’s greater than others? So I don’t agree it’s necessarily “better” now, although it may be. That’s subjective (isn’t all of this?). I do agree there are some great new artists and production techniques that are taking different approaches to the genre and helping it grow. But, uh, at the same time, how many more songs are we gonna get that are anchored by finger snaps or click tracks? See? I don’t like those as much, mainly because I think they’re way overused. But does that mean the songs that use them are bad and that 2019 will go down as a “bad” year for country radio?

Here’s my point: Every year has songs that are great and will stand the test of time, as well as songs you can’t wait to not ever hear again. Further, how is a bad spell radio’s fault, country or otherwise? Isn’t that just music in general…rock, pop, dance, Bavarian folk…all of it..? Conversely, and to be honest, we wouldn’t deserve all the credit when it’s a truly banner year.

I get it. Country radio is an easy target because we’re basically the storefront. But we’re just one part of an overall country music industry. If you’re going to blame us, blame the industry too (And to be fair, if you’re going to credit us, credit the industry too).

Yes, I’m probably being too nit-picky and sensitive. But, this is my passion and livelihood and I get tired of radio–country radio–being singled out more and more, usually negatively. As I said, we are definitely due our share of criticism–that’s part of loving it; you know it can be better. But it seems these days we gets bombarded with criticism from every direction, to the point that it’s becoming a normalized, default response to things that are often not entirely within our control.

Brothers Osborne, guys, I love you, I love your music and I love your attitude. You freaking rock and have definitely helped improve the genre (and country radio). I hope you’re around and as unfiltered as you are now for decades to come. But in this instance, it ain’t our fault.

Not totally.

Please don’t beat me up.


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