Jason Aldean is preparing to fire up his wildly successful Night Train tour in 2014 with some shows featuring Florida Georgia Line. Calling them "a shot in the arm for country music," Aldean suggests the duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard are filling a gap that was dominated for years by Brooks & Dunn.
In a recent interview, Aldean referred to Florida Georgia Line's success to "kind of a new age of Brooks & Dunn sort of thing."
At first, longtime fans of a more traditional country approach may not be too happy with a declaration like that, but let's examine Aldean's statement a little more closely.
He's not calling them "the new Brooks & Dunn" or "the next Brooks & Dunn." Everyone knows Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn are irreplaceable. If anything, it seems that Aldean is simply making a spot-on observation about the parallels in the two duos' popularity and incredible rise to fame.
Country truly hasn't seen such a dynamic male duo skyrocket to the top of the charts since Brooks & Dunn debuted back in 1991 with "Brand New Man," which shot straight to No. 1. Their debut album of the same name was certified six-times platinum and contained three more No. 1 singles.
Fast forward to 2012 when "Cruise," Florida Georgia Line's debut single for Republic Nashville, hit the charts and reached No. 1. With a six-times platinum certification for their full-length debut album and subsequent hit singles, you can't help but note the similar patterns of success.
Aldean may be onto something here, so before any of us get our Wranglers in a wad, let's keep in mind what's important. First of all, Brooks & Dunn made such a lasting impression and impact on country music, their success and string of hit singles and albums are the standard to compare every male vocal duo for many years to come.
Maybe the phenomenal success of Florida Georgia Line is an opportunity to usher in a new era of hit male duos the country audience has been missing for quite some time. Yes, sonically speaking, they are vastly different from Brooks & Dunn, but so is the vast majority of the music played on mainstream country radio stations at the moment. It's all part of the evolution.
The mere presence of one act in country music does not negate the incredible legacy and relevancy of another, but Kelley and Hubbard have opened the eyes of a whole new audience to what is going on in our format.