Press-Republican

FYI...

October 3, 2013

Changing country music, one party song at a time

RICHMOND — At first glance, it looks like things come pretty easily for Florida Georgia Line, the fastest-rising act in country music. Even if it's just acquiring a chilled beverage on a hot summer afternoon.

"I could use a cold brewski," Brian Kelley (known as B.K.) announces as he walks into the front lounge of a stuffy tour bus on a stifling August day. No problem. He opens a small sliding door, and as if by magic, reveals several beer bottles packed in ice.

Hovering over six feet tall, Kelley, 28, sits down, leans back and props his legs up on a small counter across the aisle as his duo partner, Tyler Hubbard, appears. Hubbard, 26, grabs a granola bar out of a makeshift kitchen cabinet and takes a seat. Just a couple of everyday guys, hanging out before taking the stage in Richmond in front of 6,000 screaming fans. Fifteen months ago, these dudes didn't have a record deal. Now they're shattering music records while taking Nashville by storm.

On Sunday, the 20,000-plus expected to gather at Merriweather Post Pavilion for the annual Sunday in the Country festival will see Kelley and Hubbard right before they graduate to the next level of stardom: their first national headlining tour, which kicks off Thursday. Fans will pack in to hear feel-good party songs from the duo's platinum-selling debut album, "Here's to the Good Times," and especially the inescapable crossover smash "Cruise," which recently spent 22 weeks at No. 1, making Billboard country chart history. As Florida Georgia Line keeps ascending, the duo is also being credited - or blamed, depending on whom you ask - for helping to change the sound of modern country music.

The band's rise may seem rapid, but as everyone around them emphasizes, it's the result of years of tough, behind-the-scenes work. Plus, it's triumphant proof that doing things a little differently - even if you start outside of the Nashville star-making machine, which has a methodical process of transforming singers into superstars - can lead to success.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 21, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 18, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 17, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 12, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140516-recalls_1357_88cb85dbc81b724b4ae9c83db4426fd8.jpg Auto recalls break single-year US record with six months to go

    With six months left in 2014, automakers have already recalled more vehicles in the United States than in any other year on record.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    July 8, 2014

  • Wanna write a pop song? Here's a foolproof equation

    Pop songs (generally) stay in one key, are in 4/4 time, last between three and five minutes, are organized into chunks of four or eight bars, have a repeating chorus played two to four times, include the title sung at least three times, and feature short melodic fragments that repeat a lot to help everyone to remember them.

    July 7, 2014

  • Americans falling out of love with shopping malls

    Abandoned malls are hot: The Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group boasts almost 14,000 members; a Google search of "dead malls" produces 5.7 million results; and the desolate interiors of these unused retailing meccas keep making cameos in thrillers and horror films.

    July 6, 2014