By Richard Mundy
With 50 to 60 mph winds blowing great globs of sea foam across the parking lot and into the street, a crowd assembled on the beach at Andy Romano Beachfront Park to shoot music history accompanied by 100-plus animated would-be video actors and actresses. The grips, the lights, the sound, the cameras and the extras backed up the band Florida Georgia Line for their music video shoot.
Having shot footage in Georgia previously, they had to shoot some in Florida to be fair to their name. The individual names of the singing duo are Tyler Hubbard, favorite son of Monroe, Ga., and Brian Kelley of Ormond Beach. Having been given the key to the city of Monroe, Ormond Beach did not want to be outdone, especially since Brian Kelley is the son of Mayor and Mrs. Ed Kelley.
Tyler and Brian both began playing guitar in high school and were introduced to each other by a mutual friend in Nashville while attending Belmont University. The rest, as they usually say, is history.
Not since the duo of Brooks and Dunn burst on the music scene and set the music world on fire, winning Top new Vocal Duo of the year from the Academy of Country Music in 1991 and, in 1992, the Country Music Association's Vocal Duo of the Year, has a new duo been as successful.
Florida Georgia Line did it the hard way, releasing their song "Cruise" independently. After 14 weeks, it hit the Top 10, faster than any debut since Brooks and Dunn's "Brand New Man." Now having sold over a million downloads, it has reached #1 on the iTunes Country Singles Chart, it was certified gold and then platinum. Also, Florida Georgia Line has just been named New Artist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.
The resemblance to Brooks and Dunn only goes so far, as Florida Georgia Line has more energy and excitement to go with their unique sound. The closest definition of their sound would be hard rock/heavy metal meets dueling banjos. It ranges from a raucous, all-out party sound to songs with a softer edge, too, as with their song, "Black Tears."
Capturing the public's attention with their songs got the duo a record deal with Republic Nashville Records, part of Universal Music Group. "Cruise" is on their new album entitled "Here's To The Good Times."
It was difficult to figure who was more surprised, the audience or the boys, when Taylor Swift joined them on stage in an impromptu moment at a recent concert to help them finish the night with their hit single "Cruise."
As for the music video, the shoot went on well into the night and they had to get it finished. This was the only open date they had available. The very next day they performed at the Suwannee River Jam in Live Oak with Sheryl Crowe. Then they helped kick off Taylor Swift's North American Tour "Red" in Louisville, Ky.
Mayor and Mrs. Kelley were at the shoot, freezing and being blown about like everyone else. But their smiles showed it's doubtful they felt anything but pride.