By Chris Talbott, AP
NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of country dude duo Florida Georgia Line know all eyes on Music Row are on them as they prepare to release their second album, “Anything Goes,” on Oct. 14.
Everybody wants to see if country’s favorite party boys can keep the festivities rolling, and Kelley and Hubbard don’t really mind.
“A little bit of that pressure creates some pretty good creativity,” Kelley said. “We just pushed really hard — little melody changes, adding little things here, an 808 drop there, a breakdown here, a different guitar lick there, whatever it may be, we really spent a lot of time on the little details.
“Better is better, and that’s our motto.”
For the most part, the 12 tracks on the Joey Moi-produced album mine the same high-spirited territory as debut “Here’s to the Good Times” — upbeat rockers meant to evoke midnight bonfire parties at the lake. Lead single “Dirt” is another No. 1 hit on the country charts, and has already peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100. The group’s music is part of a trend that some within the community say has pushed country’s sound too far toward the pop music middle.
Their fans, however, could care less, and made their “Cruise” remix featuring Nelly the most popular digital download in country music. It sold a whopping 6.9 million tracks. “Here’s to the Good Times,” released in 2012 and re-released last year, has sold 1.98 million albums and currently sits at No. 25 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart.
While there is no rapping, the duo listened to the fans on “Anything Goes” and continued to push the boundaries of the genre.
They completely ditch the metaphor and sing openly about smoking marijuana on “Sun Daze,” perhaps setting up a difficult choice for radio program directors. And then there are the 808 bass drops on a handful of songs that will no doubt drive country purists crazy, but add an interesting counterpoint to the sunshine bright rock guitar tones on the album.
“We took all that good energy and the success that (the fans) have given us and put it into making this next record, and I think it shows,” Kelley said. “There’s a couple sad songs, there’s a couple that make you think, but at the same time it’s a party album. It’s a feel-good album. Right when you get to the last song you’re going to want to start it all over again. It’s right exactly 100 percent where we are in our lives.”
And that’s a pretty good place with the line between work and play completely blurred. When they’re not on the road partying with fans, their crossover success has allowed them to up the fun while home. Hubbard built an air-lover’s dirt bike track in his backyard. And Kelley’s about to reveal his awesome new treehouse Friday night on the Animal Planet reality show “Treehouse Masters.” He calls it breathtaking.
“The treehouse is two stories of adult childlike fun, man,” Kelley said. “It’s hard to put in words what this treehouse is. It’s a studio, it’s a living space, it’s a creative space. It’s spiritual. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“Record 3, we’ll be doing a lot of vocals there.”