Have you had the chance to spend any time with the brand-new Florida Georgia Line album Can’t Say I Ain’t Country? If you haven’t yet, prepare to hear something a little different from the boys.
Never ones to shy away from putting the spotlight on their roots, this time around Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard took it a step further, and all the way back to the glory days of ’90s country music.
Which makes complete sense if you think about the era in which the boys were coming of age. Influences like Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney and more were dominating the airwaves with classic songs, melodies, and lyrics. And although those same types of songs make up the majority of FGL’s new record, Hubbard admits the homage was almost accidental, cosmic even.
“It’s not something that we necessarily we did on purpose,” Tyler Hubbard told CMT.com. “I think over the recording process of this album over the last year and a half, we were just really drawn to those songs, the ones that were a little more on the country side of things. As we progressed in the studio, those songs just kept knocking other songs off the album. Definitely over half the album is super country. We’re really, really excited about that.”
“It feels good, it feels like the right time,” he added of the musical nod. “It just feels rewarding to show people that side of who we are as well, and the music we grew up on. We’ve always said that our influences are kind of all over the place, which is really true. We grew up listening to everything, but we were definitely influenced by the Alan Jacksons, the Allman Brothers, even Brooks and Dunn, Tim McGraw, all the classics. The guys we grew up listening to, this kind of pays tribute to them a lot.
“We really hope this album makes those guys proud.”
Oh, it will. You know it will.
And though it marks a bit of a creative shift from recent records for the duo, it is by no means a musical departure. Hubbard and Kelley have always been well-rounded in their catalog, with certain musical undercurrents shining through. Sometimes it’s pop, or hip-hop even. It just so happens that this time, the true-blue twang of their childhood country music is center stage.
“It feels right, it feels like it should, you know?” Kelley chimed in. “In baseball, they have a five-tool player: someone that can run, hit, throw, field—we’ve always tried to be chameleons in the studio and in the writer’s room when we’re creating. It comes down to the song, and how to put our spin, our twist and our voices on it that’s authentic to who we are. I don’t think we’re limited by anybody or anything. But it’s amazing to have that sound focused on the record.”
And don’t get discouraged thinking they’ve completely abandoned their old ways. From the head-bobbing, laidback groove of the title track to the sexy sway of songs like “Talk You Out Of It” and “Women” (which features Jason Derulo) to even the hilarious country-fried talk tracks of Brother Jervel, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country is a delectable sampler of everything we’ve come to know and love from the boys.
There’s even a duet with Jason Aldean.
“The FGL way is to have something for everybody, and to take some chances,” Kelley said. “To create our own sound and have our record sound nothing like anyone else’s, to have people chase us and not the other way around.”
So do they have a favorite song from the project?
For Hubbard: “It depends on that day right now. ‘Y’all Boys’. That one just came out, I love that song. It’s a jam.”
As for Kelley: “’Told You’ is a beautiful song. I found myself listening to that mix over and over and singing in my head. I really enjoyed singing on that one. I think the song is super strong. It’s such a different and familiar sound to our fans. I think they’ll be like, ‘Oh dang! They can do that, too?’”
Can’t Say I Ain’t Country is now available.