Aarons Ampitheatre at Lakewood
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Singer and songwriter Luke Bryan comes by his country influences naturally: he grew up in Leesburg, Georgia, a small town 100 miles from the Alabama border where his father grew peanuts and sold fertilizer for a living. Bryan helped his family work the farm when he was young, but in his early teens he developed a passion for country music, picking up his influences from his parents' record collection, listening to the likes of George Strait, Conway Twitty, Ronnie Milsap, Alan Jackson, and Merle Haggard. When he was 14, his folks bought him his first guitar, and a year later his playing and singing were strong enough that he started sitting in with local bands at a club featuring live country music. At 16, Bryan starting writing songs with the help of a pair of local tunesmiths who had enjoyed some success in Nashville, and he planned to head to Music City to try his luck after graduating from high school until his brother died in an auto accident. Wanting to offer emotional support to his family, Bryan opted to attend Georgia Southern University instead, though he didn't give up music; he continued writing songs, formed a band, and was playing gigs on campus or at nearby watering holes most weekends while pursuing his studies. He recorded a self-released album, which he sold at shows during this period, but was reluctant to take the plunge and devote himself to music full-time until he returned home to work in the family business after receiving his degree. Bryan's dad, confident of his son's talent, made him an offer: he could either move to Nashville or be fired. In the early fall of 2001, Bryan pulled up stakes and relocated to Nashville, where his heartfelt songs of country life earned him a contract with one of the city's many publishing houses. In his free time, Bryan continued to perform at local clubs, and after an A&R man from Capitol Records saw him perform a set of his original material, he was given a record deal. Capitol released Bryan's first widely distributed album, I'll Stay Me, in the summer of 2007, following it with Doin' My Thing in 2009. Doin' My Thing peaked at number two on the country charts -- and at number six on the Top 200 -- and spawned two number one singles in "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby," with "Do I" hitting number two. Bryan returned with his third album, Tailgates & Tanlines, in the summer of 2011, its release being preceded by the single "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)." That single was the first of four Top Five Country singles pulled from the album: "I Dont' Want This Night to End" and "Drunk on You" both hit number one, while "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" peaked at number three. This success kept Tailgates & Tanlines in the charts well into 2012, and Bryan supported the record with steady touring. Early in 2013, Bryan compiled the four spring break-themed EPs he had released since 2009 as the album Spring Break...Here to Party. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Florida Georgia Line is the country singer and songwriter duo of Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Georgia) and Brian Kelly (from Ormand Beach, Florida). The pair broke into the scene in the spring of 2012 with the infectious summer single "Cruise," a song that blended cruising country back roads and farm towns with ragged drums and layers of rock guitar, sounding a bit like a next-generation Brooks & Dunn. Hubbard and Kelly met when both were students at Nashville's Belmont University, and they began writing songs together between classes. They were soon playing local clubs, quickly building a fan following on the Southeast club circuit, and developing a sharp contemporary country sound. They signed with Craig Wiseman's Big Loud Mountain record label and entered the studio with producer Joey Moi to track a debut EP. A lead single, the bouncing and roaring "Cruise," appeared just in time to hit the airways at the beginning of summer in 2012.