Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken at Brothers Osborne show, Alpharetta, GA, August 11, 2018)
It’s hard to believe we are ready to introduce our seventh Think Country Superfan. It seems like just yesterday we were first rolling out this feature. It’s amazing how successful this has been, but we really owe it to all of you. The Superfans, of course, the great people nominating them and everyone else for reading about them. Let’s hope we can continue to keep it going. We have a lot of fun with it too.
Our seventh Superfan, Katie Taylor, who hails from Bath, Ontario, Canada, was nominated by Dave Pennington. Taylor is a Superfan of that dynamic duo, Brothers Osborne. What is it that makes Taylor such a big fan of these guys? Many of us consider ourselves to be big fans of John, TJ and their band, but do we qualify as “Superfans”? Likely not most of us, at least not to the extent that Taylor is. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
Image courtesy of maptrove.ca
Everything has to have a starting point. For Katie Taylor, her first encounter with the Brothers Osborne came when she was living in Florida. She was sitting in a drive-thru on her lunch break when she vaguely recalls hearing the Brothers Osborne song, “Stay a Little Longer” on Orlando country radio station K92.3 (WWKA). A host was talking about the song being a hit and how Brothers Osborne would be the opener at an upcoming Miranda Lambert show in West Palm Beach. At that point Taylor did not have tickets to the concert.
Taylor’s first time seeing Brothers Osborne live was September 10, 2016. She and her friend Sydney bought pit tickets the day before the show and drove from Melbourne, Florida to West Palm Beach to the concert. It was a triple bill with Brothers Osborne, Kip Moore and headliner, Miranda Lambert. At that time, Taylor had never seen any of those artists perform live before. She and her friend arrived early in order to snag the front row of the pit, because, as she said to me, “front row or don’t go, right?” We agree, if it can be done, it’s the only way to go. It’s probably hard to even imagine now, but at the time of that show, Taylor only knew one Brothers Osborne song, the one she’d heard in that drive-thru line, “Stay a Little Longer.” Not surprisingly, knowing only one song didn’t even matter once Brothers Osborne took the stage. “I remember they came out and blew me away. TJ’s voice, seeing John play guitar, I was so mesmerized by them. I had heard they were playing the House of Blues in Orlando in January and I remember going home after that concert and I immediately bought tickets to the one in January. I couldn’t wait!”
You know an artist or band really has “it” when they can create new fans that quickly. Without a doubt, Brothers Osborne has that power. They put on one of the best live shows in country music. When I think of live music and things I really miss, Brothers Osborne always comes to mind. Their shows are simply electric. Since we’re talking about shows, let’s find out how Katie Taylor and Dave Pennington met. Pennington, as you’ll recall, is the person who nominated Taylor as a Superfan.
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor
It was January 29, 2019 at a Brothers Osborne pop-up show in Nashville, that Taylor and Pennington first became acquainted with one another. They saw each other there. No great interaction or anything, however, two days later on the 31st in Chattanooga, Tennessee, they met up once again. This time Pennington, his wife Wanda and Taylor all arrived at a Brothers Osborne concert early to grab that coveted front row pit space. As Taylor put it, “I realized him and his wife were just crazy country music lovers like me and that we had to be friends. Since then I’ve seen the two of them at so many shows I can’t even remember all of them. Such a sweet couple. I truly hope I find a partner to go to shows like that with me one day. #couplegoals. Dave and Wanda are the sweetest and I miss them a bunch!”
How many times has Taylor seen Brothers Osborne in concert? Are you ready? She has seen them 91 times. She’s seen them in two different countries. One province, 18 states. “The amount of hours I’ve spent in my car, sometimes even by myself, is probably more than most can imagine. The furthest, as far as distance I’ve gone, was probably when I went from Nashville, Tennessee when I lived there, to San Francisco, California. I flew there for a long weekend to connect with my childhood best friend that lived there. The one day I rented a car and drove out to Sacramento to the tour they (Brothers Osborne) were on with Dierks Bentley. I was literally the first person there! After the show I drove back to my friend’s place in San Francisco, and the next day the two of us drove the opposite direction to Paso Robles to see them again on a show where they headlined.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken Brothers Osborne show, Boston, MA, August 25, 2018)
That’s definitely putting some miles on, all for the love of Brothers Osborne. I’d call that a Superfan for sure, and I love this next thing Taylor had to say about her Brothers Osborne concert experiences. It’s probably common for many of us, no matter who happens to be playing, but now we have solid proof that the fans at Brothers Osborne shows are among the friendliest around. Taylor pointed out, “One thing I’ll say about every show I’ve been to for them, is no matter where I am or who I’m with, or if I’m by myself, I always leave with a new friend. The amount of people I’ve met from going to see Brothers Osborne is unbelievable. I have friends all over the USA and a few that I met at some of the Canada shows I went to. It’s truly an amazing feeling being able to connect with people at their shows that love them as much as me, and being able to form a special bond over that. I can’t wait for their first show back when things go normal. I can promise you it will be a giant reunion.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken at Brothers Osborne show, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN, February, 2019)
It’s a question that gets asked every time because the answers are always great! What is Katie Taylor’s favorite piece of Brothers Osborne merch? She responded, “It’s insane how much Brothers Osborne merch I have.” She’s right. It is. How about 40 t-shirts, a hoodie, a couple of tank tops, stickers, shot glasses, a flask, a hat, a key chain, a flag, a lighter, koozies, masks, an EP and multiple copies of each album on CD and vinyl – some signed, some unsigned. Taylor said, “You have to have backups, right?” I suppose you do. Of course, these are the items she’s remembering off the top of her head. She made sure to say she was probably forgetting things. Well, how could you blame her? That’s quite an inventory. She mentioned that right now her favorite piece of merch is probably her face mask that she wears when she goes out. She likes the idea that she’s wearing it to protect herself and others from COVID so we can get back to seeing live music again. At Think Country, we like that idea too. The sooner the better!
So, what is it about Brothers Osborne that makes Katie Taylor such a fan? In Taylor’s own words: “They are incredibly talented, as musicians and songwriters. I’ve been listening to them for five years and in my opinion, their material keeps getting better and better. This new album, Skeletons, is literally mind-blowing. They’re honestly the nicest guys in the business. They haven’t taken the easy road to get where they are now and have stayed true to themselves. They write what they want and they play the music they want. They are just super down to earth, humble guys!”
One of the best things about country music is the accessibility that fans often have to their favorite artists. Although it’s becoming more common in other genres, country has always been far more welcoming as far as letting fans get up-close-and-personal with artists and bands. Living in a pandemic world, nobody knows for sure what that will be like once live shows return. The meet-and-greets that we’ve come to know and love may not be back for a while. They may never look the same again. We’re hoping in time they can come back the way they used to be, and for fans who have been fortunate to meet their favorite stars, they can be thankful they did. It could be a while before those chances come around again.
Count Katie Taylor as one of those very lucky people. She’s met Brothers Osborne close to two dozen times. That’s her best guess. She thinks her most memorable meeting was in Jefferson, Wisconsin on July 15, 2017, and once you hear her story, I think you’ll agree, it was one for the books. Taylor recounted that day, “I met up with a few friends I had met at previous shows. We were up front as usual and during the encore part of the show, TJ was talking to the crowd, and he looked over at all of us and told us to come over to the side after the show was over and that we could all hang out on their bus. It was such a cool experience getting to just sit and chat with them about music and pick their brains about stuff, and learn about some things we knew nothing about. We just sat around talking and having a few beers, chilling for almost two hours till their bus had to head out. Honestly, I was dying on the inside as it was all happening and I’ll never forget it.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken at Brothers Osborne show, Jefferson WI, July 15, 2017)
Ask any Superfan what their favorite song by their favorite artist is and it’s like asking them to describe a color. It’s not easy. They love way too many. It’s the same for Katie Taylor. She can, however, tell you that she wishes Brothers Osborne would play “While You Still Can” live more often. “I’m a sucker for a song that’ll hit you in the feels. Especially in 2020, this song is more relatable than ever. Life is short, you never know how much time you have or how much time your parents have, or other loved ones. Make every moment count. Live life every day like it’s your last. Such a great song.”
When asked who Taylor would like to see Brothers Osborne collaborate with it was obvious she is well-versed in great songwriters. She stated she would love to see them collaborate with Natalie Hemby, mentioning they had written a song with her a long time ago called, “Pins and Needles”. Occasionally, Brothers Osborne would play it at their shows back in the day. Last year Hemby told Taylor she was going to be putting it on her next album. Then in January 2020, when Hemby opened for Brandi Carlile she said it was going to be the title track on that next album, which Taylor is quite happy about and added, “I think it would be mind-blowing if Brothers Osborne were on the track as well.”
Kacey Musgraves and John Osborne’s wife, Lucie Silvas were other choices for future collaborations Taylor would like to see happen. About Silvas Taylor said, “I can only imagine what kind of timeless love song they could create together.” There was one final person on Taylor’s wish list. “I’m also a huge fan of Meghan Patrick, and I think if they collaborated together it would be one huge banger.”
Brothers Osborne recently released their latest album, Skeletons. This is an album I’m extremely familiar with as I wrote the review of it for Think Country. https://thinkcountrymusic.com/whats-new/album-review-brothers-osborne-skeletons-this-is-not-sunday-church-music-let-it-rip/ I know what my thoughts on it are. What did a Brothers Osborne Superfan like Katie Taylor think of it? I’ll let you read her review right here: “I think this album, Skeletons, is their best work yet. Over the years their material just keeps getting better and better. Just when you think their stuff is already fantastic, they release Skeletons and leave me speechless. I love all of these songs honestly, and I can’t wait to sing along to them live, but if I had to pick one song as a favourite, I think I’d have to say ‘High Note’. On a personal level, when this album came out, this song hit me directly in the heart. I won’t go into details, but all I can say is music is healing, and hearing ‘High Note’ when I did was exactly what I needed.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken at Brothers Osborne show, Fort Wayne, IN, November 10, 2018)
If you want to put a Brothers Osborne Superfan on the spot, ask them which brother is their favorite. Katie Taylor played it just the way I imagined she would. She replied, “Hahaha, how is that question even fair? I love them both equally, of course!” It would be a tough call. They are both so incredibly talented and both contribute so much to that band. Without one or the other is wouldn’t be the same.
As good as TJ and John Osborne are, and they’re fantastic, they wouldn’t be able to put on those super-powered shows without the help of their tremendously talented band. Katie Taylor acknowledged that fact by saying, “Their band is amazing. Jason (Graumlich), Adam (Box), Pete (Sternberg) and Billy (Justineau) are great guys! I’ve chatted with all of these guys, some more than others. I don’t want to pick a favourite, however, I’ll put it this way, if any of them ever left the band, I’d be truly sad about it.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken at Brothers Osborne show, Saratoga, NY, September 7, 2019)
For lovers of the live music scene, these have been some dark months. We never dreamed things would be this quiet for this long, and even though there are concerts scheduled for the upcoming year, I think most of us are skeptical about them actually happening. It’s been live streams that have more or less filled that gap for us. Some fans are growing weary of live streams, believing we’re oversaturated now. Katie Taylor said Brothers Osborne live streams have kept her going. She just wishes they would do more of them. They keep her feeling connected even if it’s only through a screen. She did relay a story about something special that happened for her birthday. “My friend Mary-Anne reached out to John and TJ on social media to send me a birthday message. I woke up the day after and they had posted the sweetest video on their Instagram story and tagged me in it, wishing me a happy birthday. I literally cried, I miss them so much!” Now that’s a class act, those two guys!
Finally, like we always do with our Superfans, it was time to give Katie Taylor a chance to speak directly to Brothers Osborne, to tell them anything she wanted, via this platform. So, John and TJ, this is for you from your Superfan:
“I’d say thank you. Thank you for being the amazing, genuine, most humble men I’ve ever met. Thank you for doing what you guys do for a living and never giving up and for getting to where you guys have by doing things the way you wanted to. For all the sacrifices I know you have made along the way. Your music has helped me in so many ways and has given me so much joy. The people and friends I’ve met at your concerts have changed my life and I can never thank you enough for that fact. For everything you do from the bottom of my heart, thank you! I miss you guys more than you could imagine. Can’t wait to see you again and be able to give y’all big hugs!”
Another Superfan story comes to an end, but only right here. I’m sure Katie Taylor will continue to add chapters to her own Brothers Osborne fan book for as long as she can, and I don’t see a problem with that because John and TJ show no signs of stopping any time soon. They’re on fire. As much as Taylor is one of the most enthusiastic Superfans we’ve had, Brothers Osborne are awfully lucky to have her as their Superfan. I think they would agree.
Photo courtesy of Katie Taylor (taken at Brothers Osborne show Sioux City, IA)
Brothers Osborne Website: https://www.brothersosborne.com/
*Featured image courtesy of Katie Taylor