Dig Your Roots
"Florida Georgia Line"
Bro-Country Pioneers Keep on Rocking!
If you ever wonder where the term bro-country came from, all you have to do is check out Florida Georgia Line (FGL). Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard introduced us to this style of mainstream modern country that is filled with elements of rock, hip hop and country all smashed together to create catchy tunes that climb the charts. They’ve collaborated with Luke Bryan, Ziggy Marley, Bebe Rexha, and Nelly just to name a few. Bro-country is fun music. It’s ideal for driving down back roads, hanging at the lake and bonfires with your buddies. Dig Your Roots is the third FGL studio album and in my opinion, it’s one of the best. I am a fan and have loved listening to the guys for several years, but this album just blew me away.
Holy, Holy, Holy Let FGL Take You to Church
The first single from Dig Your Roots was the song “H.O.L.Y.” and it was an immediate success. The lyrics are amazing and the harmonies and mood of the song just tug at the heartstrings. What girl wouldn’t want a guy to tell her such heartfelt and serious love words? While the title may make you think of church, that’s not the meaning at all. “H.O.L.Y.” stands for High on Loving You. If you listen to the words you can also find a smooth and nearly religious mention of sexy-time too. “You made the brightest days from the darkest nights. You're the river bank where I was baptized. Cleanse all the demons that were killing my freedom. Let me lay you down, give me to ya, get you singing babe, hallelujah! We'll be touching, we'll be touching heaven.” That is HOT! This song is one that I have to hear from beginning to end, there is no turning off the car and going inside before it finishes. It also has to be loud enough for the neighbors to know when I hit my driveway…because when it’s that loud it might drown out my attempt at singing along. I can’t sing a lick, but I sure do suck at singing with passion. Loud and with feeling I screech the chorus and hope like hell no one can actually hear me.
Tim McGraw is a Bro Too!
The collaboration track “May We All” is a testament to down-home goodness and pride. Working with Tim McGraw to create this song that took over country airwaves and had tons of country teens singing the anthem was a smart move by FGL. Not only do their fans love the song, but they were also able to reach another generation and type of fan, Tim McGraw’s fan base. Did they convert them all to love bro-country? Probably not, but I’m sure they got quite a few to accept this new style of modern country. There are many traditionalists that refuse to consider FGL, Luke Bryan, and other modern artists to be “real” country. But, there’s no denying that although there are some rap and rock influences the songs created are really, very country. They sing about love, partying, pride in being country, as well as family and home. Younger country music fans may not remember Johnny Cash, who was a trailblazer himself, but they are learning to appreciate being proud of being from the backwoods, farms and rural counties where life is different. FGL, Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, and Colt Ford are just a few artists that have helped redefine country in various ways. It’s been an experience to listen to the radio over the past six or seven years and hear the changes. Even traditional country musicians like Garth Brooks have changed up a bit and adapted to the newer style.
Getting Down and Dirty Smoothly
I heard “Smooth” for the first time while I was in the car. I knew immediately who was singing, FGL has a very recognizable style, and of course voices. As I listened to the lyrics I had to chuckle a little bit. They definitely slipped some innuendo in there, smoothly. It’s catchy, it’s fun and it’s dirty, what’s not to love? I remember when Little Big Town released “Girl Crush” and some stations refused to play it based on the title and assuming it was a homosexual thing. Yet “Smooth”, which talks about a girl going down was played day after day while it climbed to the top of the charts. Gotta love uptight people. When I got home that first day I heard it I texted my son who is my country music buddy and asked him if he’d heard it. He responded, “Yes, can you believe they get away with that on country radio?”Do I feel like some modern country is formulaic and interchangeable? Yeah. But I also know that some modern artists stand out from the crowd and have a unique sound. FGL is one of those groups and I have been able to relate to many of their songs over the years. If they get a little down and dirty I don’t mind, because despite some of the lyrics, “Smooth” is actually appreciative of a woman and not outright disrespectful. Whether it’s bro-country, hick hop or country rap there is a whole new generation of country artists and many of them don’t ever make it on the radio. FGL has paved the way for many newer artists to get some recognition despite not being traditional country-western music. The fans are a mixture of ages and styles but they can agree that this southern fried version of rockin’ country is fun!