“You’ve enabled us to chase this crazy dream of writing songs and playing shows and hoping somebody will show up to listen, so thank you, guys,” Hubbard, 35, told the crowd during the band’s performance at the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday, August 31. “It means the world to us.”
The Georgia native went on to describe the moment as “the closing of an incredible, incredible chapter” for himself and Kelley, 36. “It’s very exciting for us to look at what’s ahead, see what’s next. And the next chapter ahead is very exciting, but we wanna celebrate this chapter with you guys,” he said.
The country duo then led the audience in one last chorus of their hit song “H.O.L.Y.” before closing out the show with “Cruise.” When the song was over, the pair shared a hug before exiting on opposite sides of the stage.
Earlier this year, Hubbard confirmed that the pair are taking a break, but he stopped short of calling the hiatus a full-on breakup. Kelley, for his part, later said he didn’t know “what the plan” would be following the end of their summer tour.
“It’s not clear to me,” the Florida native told radio station 99.5 QYK in May. “At the end of the day, we’re brothers, so we’ll always have each other’s back and support, and that’s what it should be.”
Rumors of a split first surfaced in 2020 when eagle-eyed fans noticed that Hubbard unfollowed his bandmate on social media. The “5 Foot 9” singer later re-followed Kelley, but the duo admitted in a joint interview that there had been “hard times” between them in the past. “It’s not all sugar-coated,” Hubbard explained. “And so the truth is, and I think this is important to talk about, me and BK have done the work.”
Speculation continued in June 2021 when Kelley released his first solo album, Sunshine State of Mind. “I think this is the next natural step,” the “Real Good Day” crooner told CMT at the time. “I think he’s also working on an album. I don’t know when that’s coming out, but I can’t wait to hear that and see what it does. I think we’re both two unique individuals. I love what we both do separately.”
Hubbard’s debut solo album, Dancin’ in the Country, dropped in August. Ahead of the project’s release, he told Tim McGraw that he thinks the time apart will be good for any future partnership between the duo.
“There’s just a freedom that feels exhilarating, man, on both sides,” Hubbard told the country icon, 55, during a July episode of his Apple Music radio show. “And something about that really channels creativity. And so, now we’re getting to experience a really cool wave of creativity on our own and grow that and nurture that and be supportive of each other.”