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Florida Georgia Line's rise to the top

  • Florida Georgia Line (Photo: Adam Taylor)

In 2009, when Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of the band Florida Georgia Line met at Belmont University in Nashville, they were just two country boys with guitars and a tailgate to sit on and swap stories.

Once they had a few songs, they took their acoustic act out on the Nashville bar circuit, and it's been a whirlwind ever since.

Their summer party anthem single, “Cruise,” shot to No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, and right now, as they tour with Luke Bryan and Taylor Swift this summer, their debut album, “Here's to the Good Times,” is the No. 1 Billboard country album.

Florida Georgia Line At Sonoma County Fair

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Before they hit the Sonoma County Fair, Kelley and Hubbard took a quick tour break to chat about hip-hop and weird gifts.

Q: Let's talk about some of the things that have changed over the past year or so. You used to tour in a Chevy Tahoe. Now what do you roll in?

Kelley: Well, now we're in two buses and in the fall we upgrade to three buses.

Q: How about the odd jobs you used to do?

Hubbard: We used to do anything — wash cars, paint houses, cut grass — you name it, anything we could do to make a dollar and pay rent.

Q: What's the craziest thing a fan has given you?

Hubbard: We actually got a puppy dog. This woman gave us a dog and left.

Kelley: We think it's a Jack Russell and pit bull mix. His name's Red. He actually lives in my house now; my roommate adopted him. I guess we're kind of the uncles or step-parents now.

Q: With hip-hop artist Nelly joining you for the remix of “Cruise,” how do you see hip-hop mashing up with what you do?

Kelley: We both grew up with a lot of different influences, obviously with country at the core. But we and our friends in Florida and Georgia were listening to Eminem and Lil' Wayne and Juvenile — all that stuff. When we're writing, we're drawing from all those influences and we're just trying to create a sound that doesn't sound like anybody else on the radio.

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