- A260 Bobby Osborne Signature Series Mandolin Strings
For sixty-five years, Bobby Osborne has been blazing trails in Bluegrass and Country music, entertaining crowds across the world. For the last fifty of those years he has been a member of the world famous Grand Ole Opry. Known for his high lead and tenor singing and distinctive mandolin style, he has also influenced many of the artists and Bluegrass bands that have formed since the 1970s and on.
Born in Hyden, Kentucky, Bobby got his first exposure to music from a recording of Cousin Emmy’s version of the song Ruby which would later become one of his many signature songs. Bobby’s family moved from Hyden to Dayton, Ohio. During this time Bobby would listen to the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night for Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours. One particular night he was listening to the Opry and a sound came over the radio that he had never heard before. When the song was over the announcer said that it was Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys featuring Earl Scruggs.
Later on, Bobby would team up with Larry Richardson and move to Bluefield, West Virginia where in 1949 they would become members of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Bobby wrote his first song called Pain in My Heart, which would go on to be a hit song for Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs. Bobby also worked a very short stint with the Stanley Brothers during this time before being called to the Marines to serve in the Korean War where he was awarded a Purple Heart for his service to his country.
Bobby returned from Korea in 1953 and would team up with his brother Sonny to form the Osborne Brothers. They signed with MGM Records in 1956, where Ruby would be their first recording and hit, followed by the song Once More, which charted at #13 and is now a Bluegrass standard. This song was also the first song the Brothers used their trademark high- lead harmony on. In 1963 they left MGM Records and signed with Decca Records. One year later on August 8th, 1964 they were made members of the Grand Ole Opry. During this time the Brothers would record many songs including Up This Hill and Down, Roll Muddy River, Tennessee Hound Dog, Midnight Flyer, Kentucky (made a state song for the State of Kentucky in 1992), and their most popular song Rocky Top, which became the fight song for the University of Tennessee, and was made a State song for the State of Tennessee in 1982, and many many more. In 1973 they became the first Bluegrass group to perform at the White House. Shortly after Rocky Top was made a state song, the Osborne Brothers would be invited to perform the song with the UT Marching Band during halftime of one of the football games at Neyland Stadium. In 1994 the Brothers would be inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame, and inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2002.
In 2004, Sonny decided to retire from the music industry. Bobby continued on his own with his a Rocky Top X-Press touring and recording for the past nine years. His first recordings are three albums for Rounder Records: “Try a Little Kindness,” “Bluegrass Melodies,” and “Blugrass & Beyond.” A CD was also recorded in honor of Bobby’s 60th anniversary as a professional entertainer for Rural Rhythm Records entitled “Memories” which included special guests such as Russell Moore, Sammy Shelor, Patty Loveless, Ronnie McCoury, David Grisman, and Audie Blalyock. In 2009 Bobby would once again be inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame as a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. This same year Bobby would be invited to return to Neyland Stadium to perform Rocky Top with the UT Marching Band once more. Most recently Bobby has appeared on KET’s Jubilee’s taping of the 2012 IBMA Fan Fest in Nashville, Tennesse, Country’s Family Reunion: Simply Bluegrass, and Larry’s Country Diner. Bobby also toured all of 2013 with Bluegrass Legend super-group the Masters of Bluerass. This group consisted of Bobby, Del McCoury, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, and Jerry McCoury.
2014 marks Bobby’s 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and is celebrating with ywhere with Celebration Tour which kicked off in late December of 2013 and is set to continue on throughout the year of 2014! Bobby’s band the Rocky Top X-Press currently consists of Wynn Osborne on banjo, Bobby Osborne Jr. on bass, Joe Miller on guitar, and Buddy Griffin on fiddle.