'Port Saint Joe' to be released April 20
If seeking a spot for a memorably unique recording experience, why not Port Saint Joe?
So, even though Nasvhille producer Jay Joyce’s recording studio sits “right out” the back door from TJ Osborne’s home, The Brothers Osborne, John and TJ, “packed it all up” last year and came to Port Saint Joe to record the brothers’ sophomore album.
The result is an album which TJ, speaking by phone from his Nashville home, described as near conceptual in content and freewheelingly live in recording, put down over two weeks while in Joyce’s Port Saint Joe beach house.
Called, fittingly enough for those who live here or visit, “Port Saint Joe.”
(And, yes, we will adhere to the formal spelling of the community for this tale).
“It felt great, it was awesome,” TJ said of the recording sessions. “It didn’t feel like work. This beautiful beach, the beautiful water and the wonderful community.
“Port Saint Joe, you don’t think about palm trees, you think of a port town. But there is all that beach and blue water.”
The album is to be released April 20 and to say it is anticipated would be trading in understatement.
The Brothers Osborne debut, “Pawn Shop,” spawned chart hits and nominations from the Grammys, Country Music Association and Association of Country Music.
During last month’s Grammy awards broadcast, the brothers shared the stage with Maran Morris and Eric Church to honor victims of concert shootings.
The announcement of the release of their next album was covered in media across a host of platforms, including just about every major entertainment/music magazine.
That they would name the release after a town, this town, is rendered more amazing by the fact that the decision to come to Port Saint Joe was at the outset, TJ said, “a joke.”
A thought, however, that upon listening to TJ, came to make total sense.
The brothers had their songs after taking a break from the road to write and record, and a direction for a record TJ said is “almost a concept album.”
Additionally, he said, Joyce and sound engineer Jason Hall, “don’t care about the traditional ways of recording.”
“Recording out of the studio, I wouldn’t say it doesn’t happen,” TJ said. “But it is really uncommon. It certainly creates more physical work.
“And in the studio, they want that sonic purity, which you don’t get in a beach house.”
Which, as it would evolve, part of the point.
The songs were ready, but it was hardly just pull-out-the-mikes and “1, 2, 3..”
“You write as much as you can because you never know when that special song will arrive,” TJ said. “We came with a lot of songs.
“We spent days figuring out how we wanted to go about the recording. We did all the arranging down there.”
The beach house, with six men and equipment crammed together, lent itself to more fruitful, collaborative and efficient recording sessions.
“It was packed, it was the perfect size,” TJ said of Joyce’s house. “That was the cool part of it, it was like playing in a garage.
“You record in a studio and, yeah, you kind of clock in and clock out. You go home and you live your life, and then you come back in the morning and you have to flip that switch.
“Down there, (the switch) was just on the whole time. We were staying in the moment.”
That mentality was aided by their envirnonment, TJ said.
The Brothers Osborne grew up in an area of Maryland, along the Chesapeake Bay, that is not entirely unlike Port Saint Joe.
No, there are no long strips of sandy beaches, but the water is central to a community.
“It is very much a water community, and, like Port Saint Joe, blue collar,” TJ said.
Port Saint Joe was also quiet, which in turn fed the creativity.
“Port Saint Joe is kind of this sleepy town,” TJ said. “We weren’t bothered by a lot of crazy stuff. There weren’t a lot of places to go at night, it was quiet and we spent a lot time together, talking and playing.
“I think you can hear that on the record.”
Which was recorded live, we should interject, with the sounds of a beach house in the background.
But, alas, they were not entirely hermits during those two weeks.
“When we had some down time, we cruised up to the (Indian Pass Raw Bar) for dinner and few beers,” TJ said.
And, when it came to name what they had created, the brothers had some ideas, but nothing firm.
“We thought about it a lot,” TJ said. “We didn’t want to self-title the album and we didn’t want to name it after one of the songs.
“We were just tossing around names one night, a lot of names, and John just said ‘how about Port Saint Joe.’”
The name stuck.
And, the result, almost certainly, is that The Brothers Osborne figure to have, as of April 20, the top-selling album in that very town.