There's more than just a mature new sound to Florida Georgia Line's chart-scaling single "Dirt." There's also a new voice in one of the poignant ballad's verses — that of FGL's Brian Kelley. Usually adding harmony to lead singer Tyler Hubbard, Kelley steps into the spotlight on the duo's first single from their upcoming album. "You mix some sweat with it," he sings, starting his verse.
"That was kind of talked about," Kelley tells Rolling Stone Country of the decision to share lead vocals, sitting next to Hubbard in the Music Row studio where they are wrapping up their new album. "We've always said, 'When it fits, let's do it,' and ['Dirt'] is a life song, a make you think, pull on your heart song."
If it were a love song, he says, a dual vocal just wouldn't work. "If it's me and him singing a love song, it could be really confusing and weird to the listener, if the part's not right," Kelley says. "Like 'who's singing to who here?'"
"If we're both singing to the same chick," Hubbard chimes in.
"But there's a way to make it work creatively and make it make sense, and we've done that," concludes Kelley.
The extra star time should raise Kelley's already recognizable profile — unless he's in a gas station outside of Nashville. Kelley shows off a camouflage cigarette lighter stamped with the Florida Georgia Line logo that he recently purchased from an unknowing clerk.
"I come in with my cut-off t-shirt, camo Crocs and some basketball shorts," Kelley, wearing an FGL baseball hat, recalls with a laugh. "I went, 'Oh, I love this band! I have one of their hats.' It was pretty funny."
Florida Georgia Line, currently on tour with Jason Aldean, performed a medley of "This Is How We Roll" and "Cruise" at Nickelodeon's inaugural Kids' Choice Sports Awards last week in Los Angeles.