Bobby Osborne: GRAMMY Nod Just What Doctor Ordered For Bluegrass Original
Life is pretty sweet for bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne right about now.
In 2017 he celebrated a resurgence of sorts. In June he released his latest solo album, Original. He basked in the golden anniversary of the release of the Osborne Brothers' bluegrass classic "Rocky Top," with his brother and equally statured bluegrass performer, Sonny Osborne. And there was a memorable appearance at the annual Bonnaroo festival.
But the master mandolin player/lead vocalist closed the year in grand style with his seventh GRAMMY nomination — and first solo nod — for Best Bluegrass Album for Original. The news proved to be just what the doctor ordered given what Osborne was facing at the time.
"I was in the hospital when I heard about [my GRAMMY nomination]," said Osborne. "I was having surgery at the time. When you're laying in a hospital bed and you hear something like that, it kind of cheers you up a little bit (laughs)."
Spanning 10 tracks, Osborne's Original features fiery bluegrass interpretations of tunes such as Elvis Presley's "'Don't Be Cruel," Paint Your Wagon's "They Call The Wind Maria" and the Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get A Message To You." There's also a new recording of the Osborne Brothers' classic "Pathway Of Teardrops" and a reading of the Mel Tillis gem "Goodbye Wheeling." The all-star guest list of collaborators includes the likes of Vince Gill, Jim Lauderdale and Del McCoury.
"There was nothing I could suggest that he wouldn't consider," producer Alison Brown told NPR regarding the album's eclectic track listing. "And if it wasn't right, he said so. Bobby has always been an innovator and his wide openness to trying anything is still very much a part of his musical spirit and genius."
Osborne has a tie to another fellow 60th nominee, Alison Krauss. He co-wrote the title track for Krauss' Windy City, which spawned two nominations for its songs this year.
While Krauss is looking to add to her career total of 27 GRAMMYs, Osborne is looking to land his first — and continue into 2018 on a high note.
"It's gonna be a great feeling if I do win," says the 86-year-old. "It'd be a first for me. … I just have to take it one step at a time, I suppose."