ESPN Music: Dierks Bentley

Brian Kelley of FGL had played baseball

October, 8, 2012
10/08/12
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When Tyler Hubbard was walking around campus at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., a couple of years ago and saw Brian Kelley, he thought one thing:

"He was just some baseball guy. He was one of those cool kids wearing cleats and a baseball cap all the time."

But things changed when Hubbard showed up at church and heard Kelley -- who had played baseball for Belmont and previously Florida State -- leading a worship with his guitar.

"I really liked what he had going on at the time, so we decided to write songs together," Hubbard said. "We moved in with each other and we started playing music. We've been building our fan base and heading out on the road, giving it a shot."

Brian Kelly
Courtesy of Brian KelleyBrian Kelley played for FSU before becoming a country singer.
On Wednesday, the 2-year-old duo called Florida Georgia Line (or FGL for short) is heading to New York to play a sold-out CMT show opening for Jake Owen at the Best Buy Theater. Their hit, "Cruise," climbed the country charts this year and was certified gold in Canada.

"It's been a crazy couple of years," Kelley said.

Kelley, who is from Ormond Beach, Fla., went to Tallahasee on a baseball scholarship but didn't get much playing time with the Seminoles. During his off time, he played guitar at the First Baptist Church in downtown Tallahassee.

"It was a fantastic experience living up there and I'd do it all over again," Kelley said. "I made a lot of friends and even though it was a hard time on the baseball field, it made me a stronger person."

Kelley moved back home to attend Daytona State College. He didn't want to give up baseball or music.

"I realized I had two years left of eligibility and I wanted to play baseball at the same time as playing my guitar," Kelley said. "So I went to Belmont. I didn't realize it was going to be a life-changing moment when I met Tyler."

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Dierks Bentley to release EP, play in SEC

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
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Dierks BentleyJerod Harris/WireImageDierks Bentley is part of ESPN's college football coverage.
Country singer Dierks Bentley on Tuesday is releasing a four-song EP titled "Country & Cold Cans" on iTunes to celebrate the end of summer.

And to kick off the promotion, Bentley will perform concerts on three Southeastern Conference campuses next week: University of Georgia (Monday), University of South Carolina (Tuesday) and University of Mississippi (Wednesday). You can buy tickets on his website here.

The four songs in the EP are "Country & Cold Cans," "Grab A Beer," "Back Porch" and "Summer on Fire." Playbook is exclusively streaming "Summer on Fire," which is also playing on ESPN programming this month.



Playbook had a chance to talk with Bentley before he hit the road.

Are you crazy? You just released your seventh album, "Home," in February. Now you have this one. Isn't it going to be competing against the other?

"It's definitely not normal. People are asking me, 'What's the angle?' There is no angle. We had this collection of songs. We wanted to record some new songs and see how it turns out. What did they want me to do, sit on it for the next year? By the time we're working on the next record, the songs would be old to me. So why not give it to the fans? It's all about having a good time and having fun going into the fall, especially when it comes to college football. It's going to be a fun album for that."

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