Not since Brooks & Dunn hit the charts has a country duo made a splash like Bryan Kelley and Tyler Hubbard who, as Florida Georgia Line, have scored a huge hit with their Top 10 country single, “Cruise,” and fast-rising Republic Nashville debut, Here’s To The Good Times.
Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Hubbard (from Monroe, Ga.) met at Nashville’s Belmont University and self-released an EP, Anything Like Me, in Dec. 2010. But it was the release of Itz Just What We Do, which included “Cruise,” on Big Loud Mountain that grabbed Nashville’s attention.
Florida Georgia Line toured with Corey Smith, Colt Ford and the 2012 Country Throwdown tour before signing with Nashville Republic in July. They hit the road again with Jake Owen and “CMT On Tour.”
In the meantime, Here’s To The Good Times was recorded, including “Cruise” and other songs from FGL’s early efforts, and released in December. At press time, it’s risen to No. 15 on Nielsen SoundScan’s Top Albums chart.
FGL isn’t slowing down, either. It will tour with Luke Bryan through most of 2013 and still find time to open some shows for Taylor Swift.
Buddy Lee Attractions’ Kevin Neal, Florida Georgia Line’s agent, got on the bandwagon early. He’s been onboard since 2011, signing the pair after Big Loud Mountain’s Seth England urged him to come to a show they were playing with Colt Ford.
“I saw them in Fayetteville, Tenn., and it was a real eye-opener,” Neal told Pollstar. “The crowd reaction, and interaction, was amazing. Bryan and Tyler really get it – they hauled their own equipment in a van trailer, sold their own merch and played for free sometimes.
“They started selling tickets and getting requests from colleges. This is the first country act I’ve seen that has such a massive college following,” Neal continued. “They connect. In any genre, you’ve got to have that thing that excites and ignites the fans, and they do.”