Florida Georgia Line Looking For More “Freedom” From Each Other
It’s not what Florida Georgia Line said. It’s what they didn’t say, and what they felt compelled to answer when really nobody was asking any questions. Now many are wondering about the future of one of country music’s most popular and vilified duos.
On Friday evening, New Year’s Day 2021, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley released a Zoom video of the two talking about the future of Florida Georgia Line (see below). Much time is spent in the video trying to convince you that Florida Georgia Line is not breaking up, even though few were really talking about that ahead of time. “Just want to try to be really transparent,” Tyler Hubbard says multiple times in the video.
Hubbard and Kelley did recently have a spat that saw Tyler Hubbard and his wife unfollow Brian Kelley and his wife after an errant Instagram post about the U.S. Presidential election. But the duo came out later confirming a long-term touring deal, and assuring no split was in the works. Instead, they were making a musical together.
Just releasing a video such as the one they posted signals things are probably more tenuous than what they appear to be on the surface. The fact they released it on a Friday evening during a holiday weekend means they wanted the info to be out there, but also wanted to bury it in the news cycle, when most of music media and many fans were on vacation, just like many of your local health officials who are supposed to be coordinating COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.
In the video, the two talk a lot about “individuality” and “freedom,” and specifically, Brian Kelley conveys that he’s been writing songs by himself and working on a solo project beyond the Florida Georgia Line franchise. Kelley is planning to release the album this summer.
“I did a lot of soul searching. I didn’t know what I was searching for,” Kelley says about his time off during the pandemic. “Even got my [baseball] arm back in shape, thought I was going to start throwing again, start pitching again. Fished as much as I could. Where I landed was really falling in love with my guitar, and writing songs, even more than ever.”
Brian Kelley went on to talk about, “…creating some freedom for ourselves in addition to what we do with FGL.”
Tyler Hubbard concurred, saying the two wanted to “Have a voice of our own. Have an individuality. We’ve always been a package deal, which has been amazing. But I think there’s freedom at this age and in this time and where we’re at to not always be a package deal.”
Tyler Hubbard also implored, “FGL’s not breaking up. So anyone who says that you can just tell them from the mouth of Tyler and BK, we’re not breaking up. We’re just venturing out. We’re doing some individual things.”
That’s fortunate for their label Big Machine, because Florida Georgia Line’s new record Life Rolls On is scheduled to be released on February 12th, and they are planning to tour as soon as the pandemic is squashed. “We’re gonna be singing all the hits that you guys love,” they say.
So what is really going on here?
Tyler Hubbard has always been the Florida Georgia Line franchise. He’s the frontman, he’s the guy you hear singing in the mix, and Brian Kelley is mostly just there as a songwriter, and a guy to qualify the franchise for duo status so they can acquire more nominations for industry awards as a twosome. In the crowded country music field, the lane is more open for a duo compared to a solo artist, and Brian Kelley just probably doesn’t have a distinct enough voice to be able to break out as a mainstream country superstar.
Nobody understands this more palpably than Brian Kelley himself. It only makes sense he would want to express himself more since you rarely hear him in Florida Georgia Line, and that he finds the environment of the duo restrictive. For years I’ve been predicting that at some point in the future, Brian Kelley would be saying in interviews that he always believed the music of Florida Georgia Line was bunk, and he was just doing it for the money.
And money is the whole reason these two are staying together instead of shutting the FGL operation down, despite their sales being dramatically on the slide and their singles under-performing at radio. Their last three singles from their previous record ended up at #11 and #23 respectively, and their debut single from their new album stalled at #2, which is unusual for a debut single. FGL’s last record Can’t Say I Ain’t Country has just barely sold 100,000 copies.
But the name “Florida Georgia Line” can still command a hefty purse on the tour circuit. It’s their meal ticket, and even if they secretly hate each other, it’s still a lucrative endeavor to play nice for the cameras, and as they said, “sing all the hits.” Because that’s about all the Florida Georgia Line franchise is good for at this point. Switching producers from Joey Moi of Nickelback fame to Corey Crowder has so far not resulted in a resuscitation of their earlier commercial success.
What does all of this mean for country music? It means the outfit that is responsible in large part of the rise of Bro-Country is likely to only continue to slide further down the country music food chain as they focus their energies elsewhere, and then reunite for the cash grab of big summer tours. Interesting to note that Morgan Wallen made a name for himself collaborating with Florida Georgia Line on his first hit “Up Down.” Now it’s Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs reigning at the top of country, while Florida Georgia Line struggles along in the post-Bro era of country along with other sliding country stars like Luke Bryan. Arguably Tyler Childers is now bigger than either of these performers, at least when it comes to sales and streaming numbers. Touring is another story, for now.
Connoisseurs of quality music love to say that the bad stuff will never stand the test of time, and the good stuff will prevail. In truth, that’s not always the case. But in the case of Florida Georgia Line, it was always propped up by bad taste, trend chasing, and a terrible premise. They were also never really a duo. But as long as their is money to be made, the Florida Georgia Line name will likely continue to be todden out as a touring concern.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what Brian Kelley creates on his own. Expectations should remain low, but it’s hard to see it being any worse than was Florida Georgia Line does.
This may be a little long but it’s real and that’s what FGL is all about. We love our fans and want to share with you guys everything we are working on and excited about this year. Here’s to 2021 being the BEST YEAR YET. Let’s gooooo! pic.twitter.com/1tYzVGpLI6— Florida Georgia Line (@FLAGALine) January 2, 2021
January 3, 2021 @ 12:13 pm
So this may be the end of Florida Georgia Line…
…and nothing of value will be lost.
January 3, 2021 @ 12:14 pm
“Tyler Hubbard has always been the Florida Georgia Line franchise. He’s the frontman, he’s the guy you hear singing in the mix, and Brian Kelley is mostly just there as a songwriter, and a guy to qualify the franchise for duo status so they can acquire more nominations for industry awards as a twosome. In the crowded country music field, the lane is more open for a duo compared to a solo artist, and Brian Kelley just probably doesn’t have a distinct enough voice to be able to break out as a mainstream country superstar.”
This comment also perfectly explains Brooks and Dunn of earlier fame. And there is no question who was the frontman. The “other” man courageously even said so. And for that I give him credit. And he was correct.
January 4, 2021 @ 6:41 am
To be fair, if you dive into Brooks & Dunn albums, the lead vocals were fairly evenly split between Kix and Ronnie. But, of the songs that were released as singled, the songs were probably >85% Ronnie singing lead. That was probably the record company’s choice, but I do understand it – they want the act to be recognizable, and having one voice be the lead vocal is going to make them more recognizable when the song comes on the radio. The same was true with Lonestar when they started out with John Rich sharing lead vocals with Richie McDonald, but the record label released only Richie McDonald lead songs to make the band recognizable on radio.
I am not an FGL fan, and have never heard any album cuts, so I don’t know if this was true with them or not.
I used to think he was singing "hey hey this rockin' BANJO Hank"
January 4, 2021 @ 10:26 am
I think Lonestar only had one single released with John Rich singing lead. All of Alabama’s singles were Randy Owen on lead vocal. And all of the Judds recordings were Wynonna singing lead 100%.
January 4, 2021 @ 6:58 pm
Actually, if you look into the B&D catalog you will find that Ronnie sang more than Kix, period.
People can say what they want, but Kix brought a lot to the duo. Sure it was Ronnie’s voice, but Ronnie solo was a bust, even though the material was solid. Kix’s solo album after the split was solid, as well.
Anyone who knows anything of the behind the scenes dynamic of B&D, knows Ronnie needed Kix as much as Kix needed Ronnie.
January 3, 2021 @ 12:21 pm
My ears look forward to freedom from each of them as well.
January 3, 2021 @ 1:54 pm
I think you are wrong. Honesty isn’t respected anymore. FGL doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. Everything has it’s season. Maybe it’s your season to stop reporting false news. Just the facts. Not your opinion. Be grateful and stop spewing negativity. How about that.
January 3, 2021 @ 7:07 pm
Presenting their own quotes is “false news?”
Get a grip.
January 3, 2021 @ 9:48 pm
Nah, it’s just shit music!
Wilson Pick It
January 3, 2021 @ 12:21 pm
Now they have to figure out who gets Florida and who gets Georgia.
January 3, 2021 @ 12:55 pm
About time. Couldn’t stand them from the beginning since they really weren’t country. Can’t wait til they fade into history
January 3, 2021 @ 1:50 pm
Oh be quite
January 3, 2021 @ 7:08 pm
January 3, 2021 @ 3:11 pm
Trump gets Florida. Biden gets Georgia.
January 3, 2021 @ 12:24 pm
I don’t see any success of a Brian Kelly solo career. FGL is known for their lack of substance even by people who don’t follow the genre and will not be remembered fondly.
January 3, 2021 @ 7:13 pm
I bet you would take their fame and money. Tell me what you get out of being so negative?? What do all these negative comments do for you? You aren’t a music critic.are you. Are you judge and jury for the people? Just one opinion. I love FGL but I don’t go on sites just to down people. Didn’t your parents teach you any manners??
January 3, 2021 @ 9:51 pm
Maybe FGL’s members’ grandparents should have taught them about heritage and staying true to oneself instead of selling out to make hot tractor rap/ cannon fodder horseshit “music.”
It’s shit music that the greedy rich fucks on “music” row use to pimp out to soccer mom’s and the Now that’s what I call music crowd. Shit music.
January 4, 2021 @ 7:06 am
So you don’t like our opinions of FGL, Kathy. That is obvious. My question is why are you on this site in the first place, then? What is it you wine moms always say? “iF yOu DoN’t lIKe iT, dON’t rEaD It!”
January 4, 2021 @ 10:44 am
Why are you being so negative towards our negativity?
January 5, 2021 @ 8:50 am
Since you want to be religious talking about judgement, let me remind you of Proverbs 18:6. “A fool’s mouth enters into contention (in this case, Brian and Tyler) and his mouth calleth for strikes.”
January 3, 2021 @ 12:37 pm
The only FGL song I find palatable is “Dirt” and Kelley sings a line in that one. I am really not sure what his solo effort might entail, but I am guessing that (like the equally horrendous Sugarland) these two will tank without each other.
January 3, 2021 @ 2:21 pm
Sugarland will go down as the most one-sided “duo” of all time.
January 3, 2021 @ 1:06 pm
I guess this is part of the behind the scene this Tyler was talking about:
January 3, 2021 @ 2:33 pm
I was just going to post about this. Looks like this Tyer/Tim duet will be going to radio shortly.
January 3, 2021 @ 2:55 pm
Funny that in their announcement, it was Brian Kelley who was put on the spot as the one going solo, and Hubbard hinted maybe he’d do some solo collaborations. Maybe. But Hubbard will be the first out of the gate, even before their new record comes out.
January 3, 2021 @ 3:08 pm
I like the one who looks like Daniel Stern!
I used to think he was singing "hey hey this rockin' BANJO Hank"
January 3, 2021 @ 3:23 pm
Trigger, you mention that Brian Kelley doesn’t have a distinctive enough voice to be a mainstream country superstar. But does anyone on country radio have a distinctive voice? They all sound very generic and pop sounding to me. Not like the 90s when there were distinctive voices like Hal Ketchum, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, Marty Raybon of Shenandoah, Randy Travis and many others.
January 3, 2021 @ 3:27 pm
Tyler Hubbard has a voice that is distinctive enough to make it in mainstream country these days. Sure, there are a lot of generic voices, but they at least project something. Of course you can’t compare the talent level today to previous eras. I don’t want to say that Brian Kelley is a bad singer, because I’ve heard so little from him, I can;t make a judgement call either way. But from what I have heard, it wouldn’t launch a franchise like Florida Georgia Line.
January 3, 2021 @ 6:56 pm
“But does anyone on country radio have a distinctive voice?” Everyone of them today is passed the point of rescue.
January 3, 2021 @ 3:28 pm
Ok….how bout this…
Brian Kelley of FGL teams up with Andrew Ridgeley from the 80’s pop group Wham…
They call the new group…….The 2nd….Banana-rama…..!!!!
Pretty good, huh…??? Huh…?????
(Tell the guys I’m offering my management services at my usual 75%)
strait country 81
January 3, 2021 @ 6:39 pm
Rap duo Outkast also said they would be doing solo stuff and they haven’t had nothing new together since 04.
January 3, 2021 @ 9:53 pm
Outkast is still more country than the turds
January 4, 2021 @ 10:14 am
I’d much rather listen to OutKast. Andre 3000 has more talent in his fingernail than either of the douches from FGL.
strait county 81
January 4, 2021 @ 11:47 am
Big Boi has mentioned he’s a big Conway fan.
January 3, 2021 @ 7:04 pm
Brian Kelley should do a duet of Buck Owens covers with Sir Ringo Starr in character as Thomas the Tank Engine. They Can call their group Brian Engine Bread (Geddit? A pun on Rye n Injun Bread. I’ll see myself out)
January 3, 2021 @ 8:05 pm
Uh oh not sure where else this was posted, but love seeing the FGL fans come here to defend them. This could be fun
January 3, 2021 @ 8:27 pm
There’s at least one here so far.
We should quit being “negative.”
January 3, 2021 @ 8:38 pm
A ton of these mainstream songwriters can actually make some really solid, substantive songs despite choosing not to for monetary purposes. I do wonder if something like this could allow someone like Brian Kelley the “freedom” to make something not shit. Probably wouldn’t be “successful” by industry standards, but I doubt anything by him would be, so might as well make it worth something. I’ve found myself liking some of the “break up in the end” Cole Swindell and “2016” Sam Hunt kind of stuff that has come out recently and would love to see something in that vein.
January 4, 2021 @ 12:19 am
Even Keith Urban is experiencing lagging support at radio.
His big P!nk collaboration is at #28 after nearly 4 months. That’s slow for KU.
Same thing for Dierks Bentley’s “Gone”
It’s a new era… Out with the old & in with the new.
Ironically, old timers Blake Shelton & Kenny Chesney are still viable at radio.
January 4, 2021 @ 12:23 am
Trig, you mention Luke Bryan in this article..
Is Luke experiencing a decline in sales/popularity like FGL?
His radio singles are still quick rising & One Margaheita was a huge hit.
I would say that Jason Aldean seems to be fading a bit tho. Longer climb to #1 at radio.
January 4, 2021 @ 8:26 am
FGL brought more urban sounds to country radio.
Urban is the opposite of country.
What is not clear about this? Let FGL have another tabloid pop music moment. It has nothing to do with country music.
January 4, 2021 @ 10:39 am
Well for a site calling itself Saving Country Music.com, maybe you should celebrate the artists and not try to cut them down. I like FGL and I like a lot of groups and single artists. Making comments about someone just being there for the songwriting and duo status is cold. I don’t see you up there singing or songwriting. Maybe that is why you sit behind a computer and say mean things. Good luck to FGL and all their country music friends. May they all comeback from this past year and be better than ever!
January 4, 2021 @ 7:03 pm
Yes, this site is called Saving Country Music. It’s not called Saving Vanilla Pop Masquerading As Country Music.
These FGL dildos are about as country as shit is food.
Why celebrate paint-by-numbers slop? Critics critique.
January 4, 2021 @ 1:41 pm
Aren’t we gonna talk about “Minimum Wage” by Blake Shelton and all the backlash??
January 4, 2021 @ 1:55 pm
I might address it at some point. Waiting for all the chips to fall. And I don’t know that the same dozen tweets that now 20+ celebrity outlets keep posting is actually a “backlash.” It’s more a tempest in a teapot, once again brought to you by Twitter.
January 4, 2021 @ 5:49 pm
Also, It might not even be his new single…
He hasn’t released it publicly yet – but I thought he was just releasing singles these days – no album..?
January 4, 2021 @ 2:34 pm
Only idiots think there is anything wrong with that fluff song.
This country has gone soft.
January 4, 2021 @ 1:43 pm
i need my space. i want to see other shitty bro country people and explore the new me, with them.
—the florida guy to the georgia guy
January 4, 2021 @ 3:03 pm
“Simple” actually made it to #1 on the Airplay chart, it didn’t stall. It was a huge hit, didn’t top “Hot Country” due to their own pop-collaboration “Meant to Be” getting in the way.
January 4, 2021 @ 5:32 pm
“Simple” wasn’t mentioned here. Yes, it was a #1, and their last #1. But five of their last 6 singles have failed to reach #1, which is unusual for most any major male-based country act.
January 5, 2021 @ 9:28 am
Ah, my apologies. I mistook the reference to the #2 song, which would actually be “I Love My Country” then.
January 4, 2021 @ 4:39 pm
Not a fan but their staying together is important. They should do it for America. Show the world that Americans can still collaborate and get along despite opposing political opinions because over in my contenent (Asia), America has become hot topic and often used as example of how intolerant people behaves due to constant shaming and cancel culture whenever disagreements ensue. There’s often talks in the streets of how the west is slowly falling etc etc.
January 4, 2021 @ 7:40 pm
The Rape of Nanking.
January 5, 2021 @ 3:02 pm
That is a perspective that I have never considered before. I appreciate our post.
January 4, 2021 @ 8:28 pm
Florida to Georgia…“It’s not you it’s me”
January 5, 2021 @ 11:59 am
One of the few songs of theirs I like is “May We All” – BK has solo lines in that song but his voice is completely forgettable. Interestingly enough, TH seems to be working on solo music with their collaborator from that song, Tim McGraw.
April 18, 2021 @ 1:25 pm
Florida Georgia line will probably be around for awhile appealing to more and more fringe fans trying to regain relevance. They’re the musical equivalent of Sarah plain.
June 25, 2021 @ 10:16 pm
These two are probably astute enough to realize that fgl and bro country have peaked and are going the way of hair metal. They may be trying to make it as individual songwriters. Good luck.
September 4, 2021 @ 3:42 pm
We’re gonna sing all the songs you guys love. Name one?