Album Spotlight: Florida Georgia Line, ‘Dig Your Roots’
Crickets chirp and frogs croak before either member of Florida Georgia Line is heard on their new Dig Your Roots album. It’s a sign that the 15 songs are unlike anything you’ve heard from them before.
There’s depth, surprising depth. Dig Your Roots is a personal album that doesn’t dispose of the good times. They’re just quieter. Instead of all-night ragers that the whole neighborhood is invited to, Florida Georgia Line bring more memorable nights in. They’ve grown up, and it’s reflected on this personal project.
Some may find songs like “Lifer” and “Island” too personal. These are love songs recorded with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley’s respective brides in mind. To criticize those means criticizing “Dig Your Roots” and “While He’s Still Around” — songs that name-check their respective fathers — and that’s a tougher sell. Both hit the heart hard in different ways. The title track is a jam that hooks fans in ways “H.O.L.Y.” and “Dirt” didn’t, but still delivers poignancy.
“While He’s Still Around” is a more subdued ballad that finds Kelley on the microphone, singing about his father and everything he’s learned. Fans of “May We All” will appreciate both of these songs.
It’s astounding how different Dig Your Roots is from FGL’s 2012 debut. Here's to the Good Times was a one-dimensional project, and this album has more sides than Dungeons and Dragons dice. Ziggy Marley brings reggae flavor. The Backstreet Boys remind us what the early ‘00s sound like on the saccharine “God, Your Mama and Me.” “Heatwave” is just that, an exciting coda on an album that spends a lot of time in mid-tempo land. "Smooth" (the aforementioned opening track) is a swampy country rocker that needs to be a single right now. Like now!
The evolution of Florida Georgia Line is fascinating. Had they tried to repeat the formula that made them headliners, they wouldn't have made it to album three. Kelley and Hubbard deserve credit for staying one step ahead of their fans and expectations.
Florida Georgia Line's first single from Dig Your Roots is "H.O.L.Y." It's a big country love song that features the duo's more sensitive side, and their wives. Literally, they're in the music video:
"May We All," a collaboration with Tim McGraw, is the second single. It's a mid-tempo nostalgic country song that features all three singers and shows a new side of the country duo.
Joey Moi returns to produce his third Florida Georgia Line album. Moi is responsible for the powerful sound the duo is known for; however, he's scaled back for certain songs on Dig Your Roots.
Kelley and Hubbard have produced more mature songs on Dig Your Roots. "It's a man album," Kelley tells Taste of Country, adding that there are some married guy songs on the project. "Some married guys who still like to party songs," Hubbard says, clarifying. "H.O.L.Y." definitely qualifies as a married guy' song.
The title track was penned in 2015 and the group tell Country Countdown USA it represents the album as a whole. "I should say that BK has some more lead vocals on this album," Hubbard says. "Like he's singing the whole song on three songs on the album."
In addition to McGraw, Ziggy Marley and the Backstreet Boys joined FGL for separate songs. It's a diverse album, with few songs recalling many from their debut album.
The Dig Your Roots Tour began in May in Tupelo, Miss. and runs through October. Cole Swindell, the Cadillac Three and newcomer Kane Brown are set to open. Previously FGL's Hubbard shared that he looks forward to mentoring the "Used to Love You Sober" singer, as he knows what it's like to be viewed as an overnight success.
Watch: Florida Georgia Line's Musical Roots