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Florida Georgia Line crosses musical borders

Tyler Hubbard Brian Kelley FloridGeorgiLine open for Jake Owens sold-out House Blues show Friday night. | Getty Images

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line open for Jake Owens at a sold-out House of Blues show Friday night. | Getty Images

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Jake Owen with Florida Georgia Line

◆ House of Blues,
329 N. Dearborn

◆ 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday

◆ Sold out

◆ (312) 923-2000,

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:18PM

In the last three years, the state line between Florida and Georgia has taken on another meaning. It’s also the name of up-and-coming country duo Florida Georgia Line.

“I’m from Monroe, Ga., and B.K. [Brian Kelley] is from Ormond Beach, Fla.,” says Tyler Hubbard. “But our band name isn’t so much a place on the map, but where we come together musically.”

“Cruise” is the first single off “Here’s to the Good Times,” the duo’s debut album out Tuesday. Florida Georgia Line also appears with Jake Owen at the House of Blues on Thursday and Friday.

“The title of the album pretty much sums up the record for us,” says Hubbard, 25. “It’s about feeling good and having fun.”

“Cruise” reflects the duo’s penchant for melding hip-hop and country. “Our influences are from different genres and from that we make our own sound,” says Hubbard. “It’s a little pop, a little hip-hop.”

“For me, listening to rap opens my mind to a different kind of creation,” says Kelley, 27. “I try to write in a new way. So our music is country with rap lyrics.”

Hubbard’s and Kelley’s tastes cover the musical spectrum. “My favorite artist of all time is Garth Brooks. I also like Jason Aldean and love Wiz Khalifa,” says Kelley.

Adds Hubbard, “I’m a big fan of Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan. But I also like Lil Wayne and Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

Their style has found high-profile fans, including Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. They’ve also on been cable channel CMT’s annual fall tour, the launching pad of successful artists like Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Urban.

The pair met while studying at Nashville’s Belmont University and officially became Florida Georgia Line in 2009. “I had a class with Tyler’s good buddy, who introduced us. We hit it off musically,” says Kelley.

To make ends meet, the pair worked odd jobs. “We painted houses, washed cars. B.K. put up bathroom stalls for awhile,” says Hubbard.

The duo has been so busy performing, they’ve been finding fun where they can at the venues, but they’re outdoorsmen at heart. “We have fun playing music, but we like to go hunting and fishing together,” says Hubbard.

They also just made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry. “That’s something we can just check off the bucket list. So many legends have played there,” says Kelley. “Our set was over so quick, in the blink of an eye, but we’ll remember it for the rest of our lives.”

Gannett News Service

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