Bobby Osborne, Mandolinist Who Flouted Bluegrass Convention, Dies at 91

Their return to a more venerable approach to bluegrass revitalized their careers, cementing them alongside pioneers of the genre such as Mr. Monroe and The Stanleys for the next three decades. They inducted him into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

Sonny Osbourne retired from performing in 2005 after a shoulder injury and died in 2021. Bobby, who had previously undergone five heart bypass surgeries, formed a new group, Rocky Top X Press, with his son Bobby Jr. (as he is known). Boj), continued to play and record.

Besides Bobby Jr., Osbourne is survived by his wife, Karen Osbourne. He has two other sons, Wynn and Robbie. Daughter Tina Osbourne. Sister Louise Williams. 5 grandchildren. and six great-grandchildren. He lived in Portland, Tennessee, another suburb of Nashville.

Much has been accomplished in terms of the innovations in production, arrangement and repertoire that the Osborne family introduced into bluegrass. But little is said about how Mr. Osborne’s syncopated, lyrical playing took inspiration from old fiddler solos from jazz to break new ground as a mandolin player.

As he explained on the website Bluegrass Situation in 2017: “I always liked fiddle tunes, and I was good at flat picking guitars because mandolins were tuned like fiddles. I was there.”

In the process, Mr. Osborne earned a reputation as one of the first bluegrass mandolinists to expand the instrument’s vocabulary beyond what bluegrass father Mr. Monroe had established early on.

Alex Traub Contributed to the report.

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