Bobby Osborne is one of the best known voices in bluegrass music. He and his brother Sonny are known as “The Osborne Brothers,” and as members of The Grand Ole Opry they have long been one the most popular groups in bluegrass and country music. They are also members of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Hall of Honor.
Bobby’s first radio job was with WPFB in Middletown, Ohio in 1948. He began performing in 1949 with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers at WHIS in Bluefield, West Virginia. In 1951 he worked with the Stanley Brothers (Carter and Ralph) at WCYB radio in Bristol, Virginia before being called to active duty in the marines.
It was when Bobby got out of the service that he and his brother Sonny started their exciting ride. In 1956, they were working clubs around Dayton when they joined forces with Red Allen. They had their first session for MGM that year, and had their first charted hit in 1958.
Their sound centered around Bobby’s high lead voice where they often used a vocal trio of Bobby’s high lead with two voices below. This was a new sound for bluegrass and country music, and it gave the music a much fuller sound. Bobby’s voice was so strong, and had such range, that there was never any mistaking the sound of The Osborne Brothers.
In 1963, they changed labels, getting a contract with Decca and began making guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. They became regular members on August 8, 1964. Through the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the Osborne Brothers were the only Bluegrass group on the Country charts consistently.
Bobby has released two great projects on OMS Records. In 2000 he released “The Selfishness in Man,” the long awaited “classic country” album that fans had asked for. Shedding the banjo and bluegrass accompaniment, Bobby was joined by many of Nashville’s finest session artists for a knockdown country rendering of songs written by country music greats like Lefty Frizzell and Buck Owens.
On “Where I Come From,” released in 2002, Bobby returns to bluegrass and sings a collection of songs by favorite songwriters including Larry Cordle, Billy Troy, Jake Landers, Jamie Johnson, and Tommy Collins. Bobby sets a new standard for each song’s performance, and demonstrates, once again, why he is considered one of the greatest voices in country and bluegrass music.