Bentley and the duo have been celebrating their recent ACM Award for music event of the year, even though Bentley's mom jokingly gives the Osbornes most of the credit: “He doesn’t win anything on his own!"
But the daytime soap opera queen did eventually pick up her Emmy after 18 tries. And Bentley, 43, just had his own good fortune, sharing the ACM Award for music event of the year with his “Burning Man” collaborators, the Brothers Osborne.
Of course Bentley’s proud mom, Catherine Childs, couldn’t let her son’s head get too big about it. Over the weekend, she attended a country music festival in Bentley’s native Arizona where both acts performed, and she sought out the brothers to thank them — all while ribbing Bentley a little in the process.
“He doesn’t win anything on his own,” Childs playfully told the Osbornes, according to Bentley, “but because of you guys, you helped him. You got him his first award.”
When Bentley (who’s actually won three ACMs) recounted the story at a Nashville press conference on Monday before the No. 1 party for “Burning Man,” both John and TJ Osborne burst into laughter.
“It’s funny,” John Osborne, 36, added, “I think our mom thinks the exact same thing about us, as well!”
Clearly, all three men know they needed each other to make the magic on what has quickly become a signature song for both Bentley and the brothers.
Bentley revealed that when he first heard the song, co-written by Bobby Pinson and Luke Dick, it wasn’t love at first listen. But it eventually began to feel “like a ‘me song’” — so much so, that he recorded it solo four separate times before hitting on the idea of bringing in the brothers.
The duo had already signed up for his 2018 “Mountain High” Tour, though Bentley said he cooked up the collaboration solely to take the song to “a different level.” In fact, he added, the invitation came with considerable risk: “It was such a leap of faith. I think there are some collaborations where it’s taking the song and making the original song better, but because John is playing guitar, this was literally throwing the whole song out.”
There also was no turning back: Once the collaboration was cemented, Bentley added, “you can’t rescind it. I can’t be like, ‘I’m gonna go with the original version.’”
“And then we go on tour together!” John Osborne added, laughing at that grim specter.
The brothers took their own risk, as well. Bentley’s offer arrived in a text to John Osborne, and he confessed his immediate delight was coupled with the feeling of “I hope the song doesn’t suck.”
That worry quickly disappeared. Hearing a Bentley solo version for the first time, John Osborne said, “was one of those moments of like, whoa, this song is rad. It sounds nothing like anything that we’ve ever heard, and why the hell didn’t we write this song? Man, it’s so good, I’m glad that we didn’t. We probably would have messed it up.”
TJ Osborne, 34, had a similar impression. For Brothers Osborne albums, he said, “we haven’t cut any outside songs only because … I have never really heard that song that just resonated with me and made me feel like I could sing that and feel like it was coming straight from me. I heard [“Burning Man”] and immediately felt, man, this sounds like something we would have written on our own. It felt natural.”
Unlike so many other recorded collaborations, Bentley and the brothers had the joy of performing the song live together for several months while on tour. Now touring separately, they each include the song in their sets.
“I have so much fun on the tour I’m on now,” Bentley said of his “Burning Man” Tour-mates Jon Pardi and Tenille Townes, but “I miss these guys every single day. I wish I could have everyone together.”
The Osbornes, for their part, are going through their own withdrawal from Bentley, his band and crew. “We’re out doing our own tour right now, and it’s really fun getting in front of your own audience,” John Osborne said. “It’s a lot easier, in fact. But we miss those guys. They are like family. To see them two days ago, to randomly be put at the same [Arizona] festival, was like the greatest day ever.”
When Bentley sings “Burning Man” solo now, he said he tries to channel TJ Osborne in the second verse and “the way he phrases stuff.”
“Really low and inaudible,” TJ Osborne deadpanned, tickling laughter from his brother and Bentley.