Kelley, Hubbard feel blessed by experience

Published 10:53 am Friday, August 23, 2013

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

COURTLAND—When Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley rolled into town from an Ohio show the previous night, he decided to see a little bit of Franklin instead of sleeping in.

“I saw the Y. It was good,” he said. “I got a good pump in — I was thankful that they let me use the facility.

“We try to stay in shape while on the road.”

Of course, that’s not why they were in the area. They were here for the Franklin-Southampton County Fair to perform in front of a reportedly record crowd. And perform they did.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to get off the stage,” the band’s Tyler Hubbard announced to the crowd after they had performed for more than the hour they were allotted. “I’m having too much fun.”

So they continued playing their hit single “Cruise,” this time asking the crowd to get more involved. The energetic duo smiled from ear to ear hearing the crowd, backed up as far as they could see, chanting the chorus line as loudly as they could.

“Thank you so much for making ‘Cruise’ our first number one single,” Hubbard said before the duo left the stage. “You just don’t know how much y’all have changed our lives.”

Outside of their original songs from their first studio album, “Here’s to the Good Times,” the band also performed a few cover songs, playing a mix of country and rock and roll. Hubbard, Kelley and other band members even rapped a few verses of songs including “99 Problems,” “Gold Digger” and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

The concert had been taken so seriously by fair board members, that the sheriff’s office had blockaded routes to the fair grounds and were not letting people by who could not brandish tickets to the fair. As far as the band was concerned, you could have doubled or tripled the audience.

“The more people, the better,” Hubbard had said in an earlier interview. “We have the best fans in the world, and it’s cool to see how people react to our music.”

“Especially ‘Cruise,’” Kelley added. “That’s just really fun to see how people react to that song.”

“Cruise” hasn’t been their only success — the crowd at the fair was also excited to hear and sing along to “Shine,” which also reached a number 1 spot on the charts. They also scored awards at the recent CMT Music Video awards, winning for Duo Video of the Year and Breakthrough Video of the Year.

Kelley is enjoying the ride that their recent success has taken them on.

“Man, it is really fun,” he said. “Sometimes I think I will pinch myself and wake up and none of this will have happened. We are just really blessed, but seeing the success just makes us want to work that much harder.”

“We are excited to see what the future holds,” Hubbard added.

Kelley said he’s grateful for how it has worked out, and especially with whom he gets to perform with.

“Even though we grew up in two different states, we have a lot in common,” he said of Hubbard. “If a studio had put me with someone, I don’t think this whole thing would work. But because I get to play with my best friend, I think that’s why it works and it is so much fun.”

And it will continue, as the duo is soon to start its own tour named after their first studio album.

“We’re ready to get out there and keep bringing the party,” Hubbard said.