Baby you a song … You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise
…And that’s what country fans in Clarksburg, WV did to celebrate the Fourth of July a day late at the Florida Georgia Line concert at the Clarksburg Amphitheater. As I pulled into the parking lot, I remember thinking I was at a college campus as it was full of college aged kids tailgating, playing games and drinking beer in anticipation to seeing hot new country duo, Florida Georgia Line, made up of Florida native Brian Kelley and Georgia native Tyler Hubbard, in concert. Their hit song, “Cruise,” has taken the #1 spot for over 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Chart. They are a force to reckon with as that is the longest a song has ever been at #1 in the chart’s 50 year history. They have even remixed the single with rapper Nelly that has been a smash on AC and pop stations across the country.
Before the duo took the stage, though, newcomer Chris Janson rocked the crowd. His presence is undeniable and he saves everything for the stage. Janson is a monster on the harmonica and really has a way of mesmerizing people. At one point, he made the comment, “West Virginia is a wild ass Indian kinda state.” Janson has always had a special place in his heart for West Virginia and it’s no secret that he spends a lot of time doing shows here. I would like to think us West Virginians have accepted him as one of our own. He is by far one of the best performers I’ve ever seen.
I was anxiously awaiting to see Florida Georgia Line take the stage as I have been on the fence about this duo because I feel they have to much of a “pop” influence. I assumed seeing them live would help me lean one way or another, but it actually left me more confused than anything.
Country is already dying and they have the perfect platform to introduce their fans to some real country music, but instead they follow the mainstream and do what’s cool.
The crowd immediately jumped to their feet once the duo took the stage. It was like someone threw gasoline on the fire. They have some of the most upbeat and supporting fans I’ve ever seen, and being there was to much fun to even describe. They give so much energy, and let’s face it, they are pretty bad ass dancers, especially Hubbard. There was a weird moment where I felt like they totally won me over, until they decided to dedicate a good ten minutes to nothing but rap songs. I will admit that when they shouted “I got 99 problems,” I yelled back, “but a bitch ain’t one!” I mean, who doesn’t know the infamous Jay Z right?
My issue is not with the music because I find myself in the hip hop mood from time to time. My issue is more about the fact they represent country and proudly say they love country radio, but not once did they take the time to do a George Strait or a George Jones song. What happened to showing your own people respect? I’m not sure how Jay Z and Wiz Khalifa have made a way or contributed to the success of Florida Georgia Line, but shouldn’t they show respect to the greats who came before them and paved the way to country music? I’m all about having fun, and it was a nice twist to the show, but I kept waiting for them to chime in with a old classic country song after the hip hop shenanigans were over. Country is already dying and they have the perfect platform to introduce their fans to some real country music, but instead they follow the mainstream and do what’s cool.
I can honestly say besides that little flaw that they were one of the best duos I’ve seen live. Hubbard even came out after the show to take pictures with a few fans which is really cool. I think they have earned some respect from me and I would gladly see them live again in the future. The very next morning I went out and bought my own copy of their debut album, Here’s To The Good Times.
Author: Brittany Vance
Southern WV born and bred who is a lover of all things country. She’s a mother of two and professional hell raiser. Brittany will pop in from time to time as a Guest Columnist who will present her unfiltered thoughts on the most recent country concerts and maybe an exclusive interview or two.