If You Go
Florida Georgia Line
* When: 7:45-9 p.m.
* Where: Bud Light Stage
MORE ON FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE
• Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard met while students at Belmont College in Nashville. "I had a writing class with Tyler's roommate, and he suggested we meet because we had so many things in common," says Kelley.
• After graduation, the guys set out in Kelley's Chevrolet Tahoe, playing acoustic gigs at night and taking on a variety of day jobs to pay the bills.
• The duo unveiled its own case of memorabilia in the Nashville Hard Rock on Tuesday. Hubbard says it contains his boots and guitar from the "Get Your Shine On" video as well as two of the masks from the midget wrestlers used in the video.
• The band's new video, "Round Here," hit country music networks last weekend. It was shot in both their hometowns -- Ormond Beach, Fla., and Monroe, Ga. "It was special for both of us to show off how we grew up. We have a lot of friends in the video," says Kelley.
• The duo will start recording its new album in the fall. "We've been writing and we've got 12 to 14 songs we're in love with already," says Kelley.
Enter to win 2 VIP Riverbend tickets and an hour cruise on the River Gorge Explorer. Just tag your Riverbend photos #timesfreepress on Instagram.
This time last year, Florida Georgia Line were the new guys opening the Country Throwdown tour, warming up the crowds for Gary Allan, Rodney Atkins and several others.
"We were riding in a van, pulling a barbecue trailer," laughs Florida native Brian Kelley.
The trailer was used to grill out following shows each night, when Florida Georgia Line held beer-and-barbecue parties for the other artists and crew.
Now they are the ones catered to as awards pile up. Fresh off their wins for Vocal Duo and Breakthrough Video of the Year at Wednesday night's CMT Awards, Florida Georgia Line cruises into Ross's Landing tonight to get the Riverbend party rolling.
Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, Georgia's half of the hit duo, have had a whirlwind year and meteoric rise to fame since the release of their smash hit "Cruise" last summer.
In fact, it's a fair comparison to say that not since Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" has an artist captured country fans' attention and shot to stardom so quickly on the basis of a first single as has Florida Georgia Line with "Cruise."
The song hit the top 10 only 14 weeks after its release. Not since Brooks & Dunn's "Brand New Man" in 1991.
"Cruise" has been certified double platinum and, after 44 weeks, is still No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country singles. A remix of "Cruise" featuring hip-hop artist Nelly helped the single top the 3 million mark in downloads, according to information from their label, Republic Nashville.
With the success of their second release, "Get Your Shine On," also reaching No. 1, the duo became the first act in 21 years to top the country airplay charts with their first two singles, according to Billboard. And the duo's CD, "Here's to the Good Times," earned the highest debut album sales of 2012 for a new country artist
Dixie Fuller, Riverbend talent production coordinator, says he saw the duo in a showcase last October in Nashville.
"They were so darn good, I bought [the act] immediately for Riverbend. I got such a great deal," he chuckles.
Scheduling them now would probably be quadruple the cost, he says. "I love to see a band come up like that."
He expects Florida Georgia Line to draw such a large crowd of fans tonight, he has added extra security at the Bud Light Stage.
Things are still going strong for the group, which has appeared on Tim McGraw's "Superstar Summer Night" TV special, has a Teen Choice nomination for Choice Country Group, is opening for Luke Bryan's tour this summer and presented at the Billboard Music Awards.
Fans will even be seeing the duo on millions of General Mills' products as part of Outnumber Hunger, a national campaign to provide meals in local communities.
As if Florida Georgia Line needed any further affirmation of their talent, the guys won the Academy of Country Music Awards' New Vocal Duo and Top New Artist in April.
"About every week we're pretty blown away by some statistic or award," says Hubbard, "but we still don't feel like we've made it."
What would prove it to them? Entertainer of the Year.
"That would be pretty amazing to get someday," says Kelley.
Contact staff writer Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...