Brothers Osborne - Port Saint Joe LP

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Brothers Osborne turned their 2016 debut, Pawn Shop, into a hit the old-fashioned way: by working hard and staying on the road after "Stay a Little Longer" turned into a Top Ten hit in 2015. That effort helped push "It Ain't My Fault" into the country Top 15 in 2017, the same year the group snagged several Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards. Given this, no wonder the group sounds confident on its second album, 2018's Port Saint Joe. Reuniting with producer Jay Joyce, the duo don't radically revise their sound but rather choose to deepen it, letting themselves stretch out on the thick Southern rock groove of "Shoot Me Straight," indulging in a bit of steamy soul on "A Little Bit Trouble," and delving into deep country on "Tequila Again." Brothers Osborne aren't beyond having a bit of a laugh, either: the very fact that they'll place something as silly as the funky "A Couple Wrongs Makin' It Alright" -- a cross between swamp rock and Dr. Hook, all given an urban cowboy spin -- on an album reveals that they don't take themselves that seriously and that levity, combined with the group's sharp sense of craft, is what elevates Port Saint Joe. From its surface to its bones, it's clever, smart, adventurous, and hooky, creating a slow-rolling good-time vibe that doesn't lose its luster with repeated plays. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine