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Unveiling Tennessee Truth: A Candid Conversation with Country Maverick Brian Kelley on His Solo Debut

In the heart of Nashville's vibrant music scene, nestled amidst the whispers of honky-tonk melodies and the strums of a guitar, lies a story waiting to be told. Brian Kelley, renowned for his chart-topping success as one-half of the powerhouse duo Florida Georgia Line, now steps into the limelight with his debut solo album, "Tennessee Truth." But this isn't just another album; it's a revelation, a journey into the depths of Kelley's soul, where authenticity reigns supreme, and every note resonates with his unwavering truth.

Finding Authenticity: The Inspiration Behind "Tennessee Truth"

Kelley's decision to venture into a solo career didn't come lightly. With years of success alongside his musical counterpart, Tyler Hubbard, as Florida Georgia Line, Kelley found himself at a crossroads. But instead of conforming to industry norms, he chose to embark on a path less traveled, one that led him back to his roots in Tennessee.

"Inspiration for the album just comes from living our lives," Kelley told All Country News. "Our lives are really centered around God, family, country, the outdoors, hunting, and fishing, and family time. I know we've been around the country, and we've done a lot of traveling over the years. The fans have been so good to us, but at the end of the day, Brittany and I are pretty simple people. The Tennessee Truth that I'd like everybody to know about us is that we're no different than the people who are listening to this record."

Crafting the Sound: The Creative Process Behind "Tennessee Truth"

Putting his pen on eight of the twelve dynamic tracks of the project was a significant achievement. Navigating the delicate balance of selecting the right songs and weaving the right narratives was made possible by Kelley's meticulous approach and dedication to the craft.

"I took my time with this album," Kelley admits. "Taking the time and not rushing—honestly, that's the essence of it. I could have easily rushed to cut a record within a couple of months and called it done, but I'd likely end up with a project that was not as thoughtful. So, giving myself the space to work, live, and tap into where I am in life, constantly evolving and striving for improvement, has been crucial. It's allowed me to infuse my passion into each song, aiming to create something truly original.

Every week, as I wrote songs, I maintained two lists: one for the potential keepers and another for songs I liked but didn't feel were recording-worthy. With each passing week, I added to my keeper list."

The meticulous attention to detail and heartfelt dedication have empowered this country music veteran to curate one of the most profound and dynamic albums of the year thus far. Whether his pen touched the paper or not, Kelley's essence, poured into every note, radiates with sincerity, soulfulness, and an unwavering commitment to his craft.

Putting Pen To Paper: The Magic Of Co-Wrting

While the hitmaker is well-versed in the craft of songwriting, he openly acknowledged that the process took on a deeper significance when creating music for a project where his name graced the forefront. This heightened sense of responsibility stemmed from a profound connection to the material—each lyric, each melody, bearing the weight of his personal journey and artistic vision. With his name adorning the cover, there existed an inherent pressure to deliver not just songs, but pieces of himself, laid bare for the world to hear.

"It's still this wonder and respect, this magic towards songwriting. As much as I know it and love it, it remains somewhat of a mystery. There are days when I'm absolutely certain about the song I'm going to write. Take for instance "Truck Stuck, Bucks and Beer." I had that title saved for a specific group, and when we finally sat down to write it, the process unfolded just as I had imagined."

"Then there are days like "Kiss My Boots," where the song came together unexpectedly. I had a guy on Zoom and two guys in the room, and we spent hours brainstorming ideas and starting songs. It was a Friday night, and despite one of the guys having to leave early, we remained patient. We stayed until 8 or 8:30, allowing ourselves the time to connect authentically and delve into real emotions. This kind of collaboration is a result of hard work, patience, and a willingness to dig deep. In a collaborative setting like a duo or a group, there's often a consensus on what works and what doesn't. But when you're working solo, it's easier to make decisions and move forward if something isn't clicking. I can so no, I don't like that."

"When I show up to write, I bring a blue-collar mindset. It's not just about putting in a few hours and calling it a day. It's about dedicating myself to the work, putting in the brainpower to uncover the truth in the room each day. Whether it's capturing the essence of Tennessee in "Kiss My Boots" or painting a picture of life on a Georgia farm in "Acres," I'm always chasing authenticity. I'm passionate about chasing real things, about capturing moments and emotions that resonate with people. That's what drives me every time I sit down to write."

Embracing "Tennessee Truth": What It Means to Stay Authentic

"But what exactly is 'Tennessee Truth'?" Brian Kelley muses, his voice carrying a reflective tone. It's more than just a title; it's a profound philosophy, a guiding principle that encapsulates a way of life deeply ingrained in honesty, integrity, and an unwavering connection to his Southern heritage. For Kelley, "Tennessee Truth" embodies a rich tapestry of values passed down through generations, and how he lives his life even today.

"Going Places" holds a special significance for me, particularly thematically. This is why I chose to include it in the record. Although I didn't write the song myself, I'm drawn to its melody and lyrics. It evokes memories of the early days with Britney, and those sentiments are still very much alive.

"You know, it's like when you're first starting out together, and you're out with friends at the bar, and you just can't wait to leave. I still feel that excitement about her, even after being married for 10 years. I thought it was a neat way to approach a song—offering something relatable to both new couples and those, like Britney and me, who have been together for a while.

"For listeners, it might resonate with those in the early stages of a relationship or those, like Britney and me, who are still going strong. It's a song that stirs up emotions, both past and present."

The authentic and genuine approach to storytelling served as the true backbone of the record. Drawing from his family's deep roots in rural Tennessee and poignant memories with his father, Brian channels acute moments from his own life. This deliberate immersion allows him to approach the album with an open mind and heart, infusing each track with a rich tapestry of personal experiences and emotions.

"I thought it would be really cool to have a title that's not just a song title, but one that's derived from one of my own songs. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. I have so many different truths about Tennessee. My roots in Tennessee, stemming from my dad's side, run deep. He was born in Palmersville, Dresden, and moved to Antioch, Nashville, when he was just three years old. He attended Belmont College, now Belmont University. My aunts, uncles, cousins—they all reside in Gallatin and Hendersonville. It's something I'm immensely proud of. I made the move to Nashville in 2007 to pursue my dream of becoming a songwriter, and music has been incredibly kind to me."

"At the end of the day, another one of my Tennessee truths is that I'm no different from those who are listening to this record. I value hard work, prioritize family, faith, country, and strive to live my best life. I hope this sincerity shines through in my music, and that listeners can sense the authenticity in my voice and that I have been working hard."

Kelley's commitment to authenticity extends beyond the studio; it permeates every aspect of his relationship with his fans. Whether through intimate performances, candid social media posts, or heartfelt interactions at meet-and-greets, he strives to foster a sense of community where everyone is welcome. And as he looks to the future, Kelley remains steadfast in his dedication to staying true to himself and to his fans.

With each chord strummed and each lyric sung, Brian Kelley invites fans to join him on a journey—a journey fueled by honesty, authenticity, and an unwavering commitment to the power of music. Ultimately, what sets "Tennessee Truth" apart is its unwavering sincerity. Every lyric, every chord, every melody is a reflection of Kelley's essence—a celebration of his roots, his values, and his identity. In a musical landscape often dominated by trends and commercialism, "Tennessee Truth" stands as a beacon of honesty, reminding us of the power of staying true to oneself. In essence, "Tennessee Truth" isn't just an album; it's a manifesto—a declaration of individuality, imperfection, and the beauty of being genuine. Brian Kelley has not only crafted a masterpiece but has gifted listeners with a personal and cohesive anthology that will resonate for years to come, solidifying his place as one of the most compelling voices in modern country music.


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