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Country singer Brian Kelley ‘so grateful’ to American heroes who fought to ‘protect our freedoms’

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Country singer Brian Kelley reflected on what being an American means to him after the country recently celebrated its 248th Independence Day.

During an interview with Fox News Digital, the 38-year-old former Florida George Line member, who recently debuted his new solo album, “Tennessee Truth,” shared his pride in being a United States citizen and expressed his gratitude for the sacrifices that members of the military have made to preserve America’s fundamental rights.

“At the end of the day, one of the greatest things about being an American is the freedom to speak and think and live, right?” he said.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE’S TYLER HUBBARD AND BRIAN KELLEY PLAY FINAL SHOW AS A DUO

brian kelley singing

Country singer Brian Kelley expressed his gratitude for the sacrifices made by American heroes who fought to “protect our freedoms.” (Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images for the Bob Woodruff Foundation)

Kelley continued, “And have your own opinions and have the right to vote, to have a say in how things go here – at a local point to a national.”

“And very grateful to live in a place where thousands of our heroes have died to protect our freedoms, to fight for our freedoms,” he added. “I love our military. I love our service members – would do anything for them.”

The “Beach Cowboy” singer told Fox News Digital that both his uncle, Mike Kelley, and grandfather John Edward Kelley, who he refers to as “Poppy,” both served in the military.

WATCH: AMERICAN STARS CELEBRATE THEIR LOVE FOR THE USA THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY

“My Poppy was awarded two Purple Hearts,” Kelley said. “He was a POW in Mossberg, Germany. And his story – to this day – still inspires me and still inspires songs. And my Uncle Mike was an airborne Ranger for a long time when he first got going. Then he was in the Air National Guard right outside Nashville. He even went to Iraq in 2003, 2004. And, I remember that like it was yesterday. I was like, ‘Uncle Mike is going to frickin’ war. Are you kidding me?'”

“And that was at the height of everything back then. I love this country and to be American and to be able to live, think, breathe freely and live how you want. And so I think that’s what I love about it.”

WATCH: BRIAN KELLEY PUT ‘CURVEBALL’ OF FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE SPLIT INTO HIS WORK

Kelley told Fox News Digital that he is staying true to his roots with his new album, “Tennessee Truth,” which was released in May. 

The country music star explained that one of his Tennessee truths is that his father, Ed Kelley, was born in Palmersville, Tennessee, and moved to Nashville when he was about 2 years old.

“And I’ve got tons of aunts, uncles, cousins, family members out in Gallatin, Hendersonville area. And so, No. 1, kind of the first Tennessee truth is, you know, this is this record’s a tribute to my deep Tennessee roots in my family.” 

Kelley also said that he believes his fans resonate with “Tennessee Truths” as it reflects the values that he shares with them.

“At the end of the day, my Tennessee truth is that, you know, I’m no different than those that are going to be jamming this record,” Kelley said. “We’re in the same headspace on what our values are and how we navigate our life through fishing, hunting, the love of our lives, of family time, you know, God. We love this country. And we’re hard workers.” 

WATCH: COUNTRY SINGER BRIAN KELLEY SAYS HE IS ‘SO GRATEFUL’ TO AMERICAN HEROES WHO FOUGHT TO ‘PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS’

Prior to his solo career, Kelley was half of Florida Georgia Line, the Nashville-based country music duo that he formed with Tyler Hubbard in 2010. In 2022, Florida Georgia Line went on indefinite hiatus, but Kelley said he never wanted to break up the duo. 

He told Fox News Digital he thought he and Tyler Hubbard could mix their music with solo efforts. 

“For me, it was really, you know, I was really pushing to keep it all together and, and at the same time, you know, it’s just life,” he explained of Hubbard and him going their separate ways,

He said he would have preferred that Florida Georgia Line stay together, but “at the end of the day, you know, life can throw you some curveballs. And so, really, man, I just took that curveball, really, and put it into work, you know? I really just reframed my whole mindset on, you know, how I want to make this record.” 

Florida Georgia line smiling

Before going solo, Kelley and Tyler Hubbard made up the country duo Florida Georgia Line. (Sam Morris/Getty Images)

Looking back on his time with Florida Georgia Line, Kelley credited their success to the duo’s unflagging dedication and effort. Florida Georgia Line won seven Academy of Country Music Awards, six CMT Music awards and earned a Grammy Award nomination for best country duo/group performance. 

Of the three albums that Florida Georgia Line released, three went platinum, with their 2012 debut record “Here’s to the Good Times” certified double platinum. “Here’s to the Good Times” featured the mega-hit single “Cruise,” which became the first country song to be certified diamond.

“Any little bit of success that we had, our mindset was doubling down on the hard work and knowing that this moment was extra special,” Kelley said. “And so that motivated us. We definitely had a good time. But we worked really hard on the road.”

He continued, “We were writing songs just about every show day, before the show, press meet and greets, hanging with radio and really creating a great environment for the concert side of it, the vibe of it, but also bringing out our publishing companies, bus and riders … and a creative environment as well.”

“Obviously work hard, play hard,” he added. “But we really did double down and put the work in. I mean, we wrote a ton of songs, a ton of hits, right on the road, right in the bus, right outside the venue. And so, that’s something that sticks out to me, just the work ethic and the hustle.”

brian kelley leaning on his guitar

Both Kelley’s grandfather and uncle served in the military. (Ben Christensen)

He said he wouldn’t have done anything differently regarding his time with Florida Georgia Line.

I’m really proud of the efforts that I put in to trying to keep this thing together,” he said. “It didn’t necessarily go the way that I thought it could go and grow, but that’s OK, you know? People are allowed to have different opinions, and things can always circle back if that happens. So, you know, I hold a little bit of excitement for that. But, no, I wouldn’t do anything different.” 

Kelley added that he “gave it my best shot to keep it going, and so that’s all you can do, you know? And then really, just like I said, double down on, you know, what I can control. And that’s, you know, what my record sounds like. That’s what I’m singing, how I sound and what these songs are about. So, you know, I just put all that into my work.” 

Brian Kelley with his wife

Kelley married wife Brittney in 2013. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

The musician said he’s also “beyond grateful” for the “amazing” years he spent with Florida Georgia Line.

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I wouldn’t be the singer, you know, that I am today” without his experience in the duo, Kelley said. 

“I know he’s as grateful as I am,” Kelley added of Hubbard. “And, you know, you never know what can happen – may circle back around at some point. We’ll see what happens.”

For now, Kelley is focused on his solo career and is proud of “Tennessee Truth,” which he said is all about “living it and being it” and spending time with family. 

WATCH: BRIAN KELLEY’S NEW ALBUM TENNESSEE TRUTH IS ABOUT LOVING AND LIVING LIFE TO ITS FULLEST

The 12-track album, which features songs like”Trucks, Ducks, Bucks & Beer,” “King Ranch,” “Dirt Cheap,” “10 O’Clock on the Dock” and “Dirt Road Date Night,” celebrates rural living, the joy of the outdoors, hard work and true love. 

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The Florida native told Fox News Digital that his wife, Brittney, who he married in 2013, was a source of inspiration for some of the songs on his debut album.

“What makes our world go round? It’s those that we love,” he said. “My wife, Brittney, our family time together with our extended family means the world to me.” 

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brian kelley on tennessee truth album cover

Kelley released his debut solo album “Tennessee Truth” in May. (Big Machine Records)

Kelley said that he also pulls lyrics “from my lifestyle of being in the woods or in the water. That’s where typically you can find me, unless we’re on the road somewhere.”

However, Kelley said his music is always about “just loving and living life to its fullest, you know what I’m saying? And working hard, having something to look forward to.”

Kelley said he and Brittney work hard to make time for each other, whether it’s a “lake day” or just being at the house doing nothing, literally watching the grass grow, you know what I’m saying? But just taking time to enjoy life. But I hope people can, you know, really grasp from this record that, you know, it’s just authentic to me, and I hope it’s really authentic to them.”

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“I think it’s a good listen all the way through,” he added. “It’s an easily digestible 12-song record, really cohesive. And, yeah, I think I don’t think there are any skippers on this record. I love this record. I love every song, and that’s why I recorded them. They all mean something to me.”

Fox News Digital’s Brie Stimston contributed to this report. 

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