In Memory of Bobby Osborne

Today, we are saddened to hear of the passing of Bluegrass legend, Bobby Osborne. Bobby Osborne is a renowned American bluegrass musician and singer. He was born on December 7, 1931, in Hyden, Kentucky. Bobby is best known for his high, lonesome tenor voice and his exceptional mandolin playing skills. Along with his brother Sonny Osborne, Bobby formed the Osborne Brothers, a highly influential bluegrass duo.

Bobby Osborne’s passion for music began at a young age. He and his brother Sonny grew up in a musical family, and they started playing music together during their teenage years. In the early 1950s, they formed the Osborne Brothers and began performing on local radio stations in Kentucky.

The Osborne Brothers gained popularity with their unique sound, characterized by Bobby’s high harmony vocals and Sonny’s innovative banjo playing. They became known for their tight harmonies and energetic stage performances. Their breakthrough came in 1960 with the release of their hit song “Ruby,” which reached the top 20 on the country charts.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Osborne Brothers achieved great success, releasing numerous hit songs and albums. They were known for blending traditional bluegrass with country and rock influences, creating a distinctive sound that appealed to a wide audience.

Bobby Osborne’s mandolin playing played a crucial role in the duo’s success. He developed a unique style, characterized by fast, intricate picking and melodic improvisation. His mandolin breaks became a signature element of the Osborne Brothers’ recordings and live performances.

The Osborne Brothers with Terry Smith via Country Road TV YouTube screen grab

In addition to their commercial success, the Osborne Brothers made significant contributions to the development of bluegrass music. They were among the first to incorporate drums and electric instruments into bluegrass, which caused some controversy among traditionalists but also expanded the genre’s reach and appeal.

Bobby Osborne’s career continued even after the Osborne Brothers disbanded in the 1990s. He released solo albums and collaborated with other bluegrass musicians. In 2005, he received the National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor awarded to traditional artists in the United States.

Bobby Osborne’s impact on bluegrass music is immeasurable. His soulful voice, exceptional mandolin playing, and innovative approach to the genre have inspired countless musicians. He remains a respected figure in the bluegrass community, and his contributions continue to be celebrated and cherished by fans of the genre.

Be sure to watch this video of The Osborn Brothers performing “Rocky Top.” There’s plenty more Country Music and Entertainment over at!

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