Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley Took J Creek Cloggers’ Zeb Ross On Tour: Outsider Speaks to the Viral Star About His Experience

by Chris Haney
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It’s been a wild ride the last couple of months for Zeb Ross of the J Creek Cloggers. The country clogger from the Blue Ridge Mountains with an infectious grin went viral on TikTok and Instagram seemingly overnight and has had his life turned upside down ever since. Millions of social media users all over the world have now seen the 28-year-old with long dark hair and a short beard, who is often seen wearing a blue polo and jeans, buck dance and shuffle to various songs from every genre music you could think of.

Zeb became an overnight dance sensation because of his country clogging videos. Along with his newfound fame has come quite a few perks, including Florida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley inviting Zeb to tour with him and his band for their first-ever solo shows in late April. Past that, Zeb and the J Creek Cloggers are now starring in multiple up-and-coming country artists’ music videos. He also got an invite from Texas-based soul singer, songwriter and record producer Leon Bridges to attend his concert in Asheville in mid-May.

Additionally, Zeb’s abrupt fame has helped him garner quite the fanbase while bringing attention to country clogging, which has been a dying art form in recent decades. The clogger’s fans online call him The Legend Zeb Ross, and per their request, the J Creek Cloggers have created merchandise with Zeb as the focal point. A first run of t-shirts sold out, but they’ve restocked on the Zeb Ross Merchandise website.

The dance team has also had more offers than ever to perform, and it’s been a task unto itself filtering through all the new event requests. While a packed schedule is a good problem to have, the group’s newfound popularity is introducing country clogging to millions of people who may not have ever known about the traditional dance style. Country clogging was popular for years in Western North Carolina, but it’s become less common as the years pass.

Yet the traditional form of folk dancing has now reached millions of people all over the world because of Zeb’s viral videos. In fact, people in foreign countries all over the globe have reached out to the dance team who are interested in learning more about their unique moves. It’s been a rollercoaster ride in recent months for Zeb and the J Creek Cloggers. But it’s been a fun ride that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley Invites Zeb Ross On Tour

FGL’s Brian Kelley released his debut solo album in June of 2021. When he set out on his first solo tour this spring, the country music star knew he wanted to add something special for fans in attendance. His first concert of the tour was in his home state of Florida. So Kelley flew Zeb and a few others down to perform live on stage during the inaugural solo concert.

While speaking to Zeb earlier this week, he shared what it was like to meet and perform with Kelley and his band. Kelley’s manager extended the invite through Zeb’s manager, who is his mother, Kim Ross. Kim is also the creator and manager of the J Creek Cloggers, and they couldn’t have been happier to accept the country star’s invitation.

“First show in Daytona!! Had to bring out THE @jcreekcloggers to show us how it’s done!!! #beachcowboy #jcreekcloggers #madebythewater,” Kelley wrote on an Instagram post marking the occasion.

Kelley flew Zeb and a few others down to Daytona Beach, put them up in a nice beachside hotel, and spent time with the cloggers. In fact, it was the first time Zeb got to perform in front of thousands of country music fans, but we’ve got a feeling it won’t be his last.

“Oh, it was a terrific experience,” Zeb said of collaborating with FGL’s Brian Kelley. “I got to personally meet Brian and his wife and had just a great experience. Got to dance onstage with him. And it’s just something I’ll always and forever remember.”

Further, Brian Kelley hosted them for an additional show in Greenville, SC as well. During his performance at the Blind Horse Saloon, Kelley welcomed Zeb back on stage to buck dance, shuffle, and show off more of his now-famous moves. If people hadn’t heard of Zeb Ross before that, his gig with Kelley started to change that as it put a name with the recognizable face and contagious grin that’s been plastered all over social media for the last two months.

J Creek Cloggers’ Zeb Ross Is Adapting to His Newfound Stardom

Zeb is starting to get used to the attention, but it’s been an adjustment. Thankfully, his experiences with fans have been nothing but positive so far. For example, Zeb and his wife were recently in Greenville, SC once again to see the rock band Shinedown perform. While they walked the streets of downtown, multiple people noticed Zeb even without him wearing his signature blue polo.

“Walking down the street, didn’t have a blue polo on, didn’t have my dance shoes on. There were probably 3 or 4 people that came up and asked if I was the TikTok guy. And I said, ‘Yes, yes I am,'” Zeb shared with a laugh, still surprised by his own fame. “But I don’t mind the attention. If [country clogging] is the worst thing that I’m known for, I’m perfectly okay with this for a guy that enjoys what he does.”

When speaking about his interactions with fans further, Zeb said people are just happy to see someone that they know from their social media feeds. It makes their day to meet him and share a moment with someone who’s gone viral. To call Zeb humble and unassuming would be an understatement. He seems to go out of his way to make anyone who recognizes him feel like an old friend, which can go a long way to brightening someone’s day.

“They’re just excited to see someone they’ve seen on TikTok who’s right now just been all over the place. You know, strike up a conversation, remember their name the best I can, take a picture. You know, just try to make it special,” he said of his interactions with fans.

As Zeb Ross continues to navigate his newfound stardom, he’s staying centered. He has no plans of quitting his longtime job anytime soon. He and his family have been country clogging for years, and he likes it as a hobby on the side just fine.

If that comes with increased popularity and a loss of anonymity, Zeb doesn’t mind. He’s proud to shine a spotlight on country clogging and to introduce the J Creek Cloggers and their traditional dance style to the world. And if that affords him further opportunities to mix and mingle with country music stars and other celebrities, even better. That’s just icing on the cake.

Outsider.com