Students and parents crowded the 2000-seat venue, waiting in anticipation as TJ Osborne stood on stage.
“Come on, Ohio, let’s go!” TJ said before stepping aside for one of his brother John's haunting guitar solos.
Brothers Osborne performed with Christian Lopez at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Friday night. The duo banged out hits like “Rum,” “Greener Pastures” and “Heart Shaped Locket” for an enthusiastic crowd of country music fans.
The songs kept audience members on their feet, engaged and clapping along throughout the nonstop, hourlong jam session. Neither TJ nor John did much talking — storytelling would have cut their infamous guitar solos short.
“You wanna hear some old country music tonight?” TJ said, baiting the classic country fans with Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River.”
The brothers slowed things down with “21 Summer” and “Stay A Little Longer,” much to the pleasure of the slow-dancing couples on date nights.
Many of the duo’s fans traveled from other cities in the area, and Lopez, a West Virginia native, got a warm welcome. The Appalachian singer-songwriter gave an intimate, confessional performance.
Lopez apologized for the absence of his band and played a solo acoustic filled with twangy love songs. The self-proclaimed romantic shared his gratitude for Brothers Osborne taking him under its wing.
“It’s just a treat every time,” Lopez said. “They have very passionate fans that have been adopting to new music they haven’t heard. (Brothers Osborne and its fans) are true music lovers.”
The brothers closed the show with a stage version of fan-favorite “It Ain't my Fault” that ended in a lengthy guitar solo from John. The show was set up to cater to and showcase his range as a guitar player.
When the duo emerged for the encore with red Solo Cups in hand, TJ announced the brothers would be taking requests.
The half-hour long encore was a crowd pleaser, sampling Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The brothers included some of their lesser-known songs, along with the popular 2016 title track “Pawn Shop”.
The encore was particularly remarkable to Brant Cook, who said he and his wife, Cathy, drove three hours from Cincinnati to see the show.
“(The encore) was fabulous,” Brant said, “I’ve never seen that happen before.”
The country-blues duo confirmed that it has a new record coming out next year. A release date has not been announced.
Cathy said she had been waiting to see Brothers Osborne and she rejoiced when her son told her about the show at Ohio University.
“You can’t beat any song that they sing, so the entire show was just phenomenal,” she said.