John Osborne Reveals The Personal Meaning Behind His Massive Sailor Ship Chest Tattoo

This work of art has a deep meaning for Osborne.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

December 5, 2023


9:06 am

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Brothers Osborne; Photo by Jamie Schrammm, CMA

John Osborne, one-half of the country duo Brothers Osborne, explains how one of his latest tattoos turned out to be symbolic of his journey with mental health and overcoming some of his greatest obstacles in life.

The country singer is often seen wearing low-cut shirts that show off the top of his chest, and earlier this year his style revealed a new piece of ink – a large sailor ship tattoo that makes up a good portion of his chest. 

Taking Advantage Of A Day Off

While discussing this artwork with his label, Universal Music Group Nashville, Osborne shared that he had the idea to capture the moment in time and get a rather bold tattoo just a few months before he and his wife welcomed their twins, Arthur and Maybelle, in early March. 

Brothers Osborne; Photo by Benjamin Askinas/CMA
Brothers Osborne; Photo by Benjamin Askinas/CMA

“Kids were on the way and I’m like, I’ve got to cling on to my youth,” he said with a laugh. “So I’m just gonna do something really crazy and get a massive chest tattoo. I had a day off, like an actual day off, not a normal day off for us, which is running errands, going and picking up things where you actually work all day. It was like I had nothing to do, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna go get a big tattoo on my chest.’”

He went to explain the meaning behind the design of the ship correlates with his journey of working on his mental health. In fact, after getting the tattoo, he found an even deeper connection to it thanks to his brother, T.J. Osborne. 

“Not to get to philosophical about it, I guess, but it is a sailor ship and I’ve been very vocal about my mental health and a lot of struggles I’ve had over the years. And he (TJ) actually told me this quote after I’d gotten the sailor ship tattoo was ‘Smooth waters don’t make good sailors,’ and it’s an amazing philosophy, and it’s something I’ll carry with me forever. I feel like I’ve become my best self in the most trying times of my life.”

Delivering Authenticity In Their Latest Self-Titled Album

Brothers Osborne Album Art
Brothers Osborne Album Art

Over the last few years, both members of the band have learned to embrace their true selves and find peace in letting the world get to know them on a deeper level. This is evident through their latest self-titled album, which features an authentic an 11-song track list inspired by a variety of important events in their lives, including T.J. coming out and John’s openness with mental health. 

“In one way, life reflects art and art reflects life, as it should, so if your life changes, your art should also change with it,” John told Country Now and other media outlets. “Besides us being very vocal about our personal lives and exposing a lot about ourselves, it’s just been getting out there and performing and growing as writers as musicians as creators as performers… You just kind of learn, you don’t stay rigid, you evolve, you allow yourself to adapt to life, and your artistry should kind of grow along with it.”

“That’s why our album is self-titled,” he continued. “This is who we’ve been all along, but also who we’ve become have seemed to kind of meet at this perfect intersection, and honestly, writing from that perspective, writing from a place of freedom and knowing less (if any) limitations, I hopefully think that we will only have a good, profound impact.”

Just-Announced New Tour Dates For 2024

To celebrate the release of their new album the award-winning sibling duo embarked on a four-show concert series that included a lineup of dates in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Nashville throughout the month of October. 

The reigning CMA Vocal Duo of the Year recently announced a brand-new set of dates for their 2024 Might As Well be Us Tour. To help them share the news, the duo called up their parents’ John Osborne Sr. and Trish Osborne to take part in a hilarious parody video. The clip finds their mom on the board, and their dad inside the studio where he attempts to record a liner surrounding the tour announcement. After a few failed takes and lots of back and forth banter, Trish reminds him, “time is money, let’s do this.”

Finally, at the end of the clip, John Osborne Sr. looks at the camera and correctly states, “Brothers Osborne – Might As Well Be Us Tour. Tickets go on sale this Friday.”

Tickets for this upcoming trek are on sale now.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.