This Maryland-spawned sibling act has been kicking around Nashville for a little while, winning listeners over with its spirited live performances. “Pawn Shop,” a long-awaited debut co-produced by the duo — vocalist-guitarist TJ and lead guitarist John — with the in-demand Jay Joyce (Little Big Town, Eric Church), lives up to and even exceeds the early buzz. The 11 tracks, all co-written by the Osbornes, expertly capture TJ’s beguiling baritone and John’s nimble fretwork, with fewer concessions to pop-country trends than might be expected from a major-label act. You can smell the smoke and taste the whiskey on classic country ballad “Loving Me Back”; the bittersweet nostalgia that runs through “21 Summer” is palpable; and the whimsical wordplay of “Greener Pasture,” an ode to Mary Jane, is another high point. And the two singles that preceded the album’s release — the laid-back “Rum” and winsome “Stay a Little Longer” — not only are catchy enough to have passed muster at radio, but also could serve as a guide for how to do commercial country right.
ESSENTIAL “Loving Me Back”Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.