Mainstream country music has always excelled at getting the party started, which is probably why Florida Georgia Line (FGL) has found such an eager audience.
The duo of Florida-born Brian Kelley and Georgian Tyler Hubbard is coming off a massive year in 2013 that saw their debut album “Here’s to the Good Times” score five No. 1 hits. The momentum didn’t stop this year with the group picking up Country Music Television, Teen Choice and Canadian Country Music Association awards.
Still, those awards are for an album that came out in 2012, so what can fans who plan to see FGL at the Washington State Fair on Monday, Sept. 15, expect? When the band was in town last December, Hubbard announced that they were heading back into the studio with producer Joey Moi to record a new album.
In a couple months, we’ll get to see exactly what the “Cruise” and “This Is How We Roll” singers have in store, but for now their new single, “Dirt,” lends a pretty clear look at what Florida Georgia Line has been up to. It’s a lush ballad, an ode to the very earth these good old boys grew up on — the kind of place you want to “build a 10 percent down, white picket fence house on.”
It is also, like many Florida Georgia Line songs, quite busy. Separating the booming fuzz of the chorus into its constituent instruments is a foolhardy exercise and a reminder that Nickelback producer Joey Moi is the mastermind behind FGL’s signature hard-country sound. This is music made for the radio, where detail gets swallowed up by the static of the FM dial.
Those details don’t matter so much on stage, either. FGL’s stage show focuses on booming bass guitar and drums that can loosen fillings, notwithstanding Hubbard’s down-home charm and Kelley’s soaring harmonies.
Can Florida Georgia Line sustain its success? Based on “Dirt” — already a No. 1 Billboard U.S. Country charts hit — the future looks as bright as the past.
Vancouver native Dallas Smith opens the show. He was the lead singer of the band Default, discovered by Chad Kroeger, the lead singer of Nickelback.
Country music is all over the fair, like powdered sugar on a funnel cake. Australian superstar Keith Urban kicks off the weekend Saturday, Sept. 13. Urban is riding high this summer on the strength of his No. 1 album “Fuse.”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Washington State Fair, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup; $40-$100 (253-841-5045 or thefair.com).
Florida Georgia Line, Dallas Smith
7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, at the Washington State Fair, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup; $40-$90 (253-841-5045 or thefair.com).