Hit songwriter Josh Osborne sings five of the most popular songs he’s written—“Body Like a Back Road,” “Setting the World on Fire,” “Drinkin’ Problem,” “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” and “All the Pretty Girls”—during this solo set at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. He also talks about three people who helped him achieve his dream of becoming a professional songwriter.
Osborne opens his Songwriter Session, filmed March 24, 2018, with “All the Pretty Girls,” a hit for Kenny Chesney. Growing up in Virgie, Kentucky—a small town situated on the Country Music Highway—Osborne heard country songs on the local radio station every morning getting ready for school, he tells the audience. Looking back on that time, he says, “I loved the voices and I loved the stories. I just wanted to do that kind of things. I wanted to play music so I started taking guitar lessons, and I started trying to sing. My parents very much fostered that creativity in me. They encouraged me: ‘Do what you want to do, nothing is impossible, chase what you want to chase.’”
His father, Stan, first suggested that Osborne should write songs and introduced him to the music of the Beatles. Inspired especially by the Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood,” Osborne decided he wanted to bridge those pop sounds with the country music he loved. He performs “Drinkin’ Problem,” a song he wrote with (and for) the band Midland, and one that his late father considered a favorite. Then he sings “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” (recorded by Keith Urban) and explains the “backwards” way the song was written.
Osborne then fields questions about his first visits to Nashville, common mistakes made by young co-writers, and the determination it takes to stick with it. Before singing “Setting the World on Fire” (recorded by Chesney with Pink), he credits his wife Toni Osborne for championing him during a low point in his career. Afterwards, he discusses at length his friendship with frequent collaborator Shane McAnally and the importance of finding people who will support your goals. The set concludes with a performance of “Body Like a Back Road,” recorded by Sam Hunt.
Presented in support of the 2018 installment of the Museum’s annual exhibition “American Currents: State of the Music,” which recognized Osborne.
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