Brothers Osborne chimed in on Lil Nas X's controversial "Old Town Road" before the Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday night, defining it as "not country" to them.
When asked to define country, T.J. Osborne quickly chimed in, "Certainly not that."
"I don't know what country is, it's not for me to say," T.J. continued. "The only thing to me I just think is, you know for me if music, it makes you feel good, then that's really the whole point of it. However, I don't like that there's this controversy around it. Particularly, once again, John and I, we've had successful radio [singles] but we still struggle at radio all the time. And so to complain about that to me is just like, dude, come on, get in line."
John Osborne mentioned the struggle female country artists have to get on the radio, noting there are "tons of girls just waiting for the moment, waiting in line, writing great songs, showing up every day to the writing room." He pointed out Hailey Whitters, whom he believes needs to have success.
"And then this dude decides to put out a song with kind of quasi-country lyrics... Let's turn the focus away from that," John said of Lil Nas X. "Don't create controversy and expect that to give you a hall pass. We need great songs. Go listen to Kris Kristofferson and then go listen to that song, and if you tell me they have anything to do with each other, then I will quit."
"Old Town Road," a country-trap song with more than 31.1 million views on YouTube, has been at the center of controversy since Billboard pulled the song from the Hot Country Songs chart. Billboard said the song "does not embrace enough elements of today's country music to chart in its current version."
"It was so obvious to me after hearing the song just one time," Cyrus wrote on Twitter. "I was thinking, what's not country about it? What's the rudimentary element of a country and western song? Then I thought, it's honest, humble, and has an infectious hook, and a banjo. What the hell more do ya need?"
The "Achy Breaky Heart" singer added, "A few days passed and I went to the studio to do vocals.When I finished the pass, I whistled at the end of the song. That's when the engineer stood up and said, 'that s– is fire' We're keeping that! Glad you [guys] are diggin' the tune, love seeing all your meme's."
John Rich also called on Billboard to let the fans decide if "Old Town Road" is country or not, recalling on the Brian Kilmeade Show how Johnny Cash was once called "not country music."
Photo credit: Rich Fury/ACMA 2019/Getty Images for ACM