Brothers Osbourne Credit: ALYSSE GAFKJEN

Outlaw country first pulled out of the truck stop almost half a century ago now, but you wouldn’t know the genre was middle-aged (and often paunchy) from listening to the Brothers Osborne. The Maryland duo has the spirit—and at least some of the facial hair—of the men who played outlaw country in the 70s, making a groovy, dusty blend of southern-fried rock, soul, and the Grand Ole Opry. “Weed, Whisky, and Willie,” off the 2018 album Port Saint Joe (EMI Nashville), locks into one of those easy Waylon grooves as T.J. Osborne delivers a rangy vocal in true style. His lyrics on that song—”I get stoned for survival / It helps with the healin’ / When it all goes to hell / The only thing I believe in / Is weed, whisky, and Willie”—have the weather-beaten wit of Nelson himself. The same goes for “Tequila Again,” a laugh-til-you-cry heartbreaker about falling in love with the bottle. “Shoot Me Straight” takes a step towards Skynyrd or ZZ Top, as John Osborne provides loud and tasty classic-rock guitar heroics. It’s not all vintage; every so often, the album tips its cowboy hat to contemporary fashion. On “A Little Bit Trouble,” the group adds a doppler echo on the chorus vocal that sounds suspiciously of this decade. But for the most part, the Osborne brothers rightly figure, that if the rig isn’t busted, you should keep on driving.   v