Florida Georgia Line Talk ‘Can’t Say I Ain’t Country': ‘No One Should Make the Same Record Twice’
The release of Florida Georgia Line's fourth studio album, Can't Say I Ain't Country, on Friday (Feb. 15) marks the culmination of a long period of hard work. The country duo spent more than a year creating the project, which continued to shift and grow during that time, as life happened.
"It was a fun journey -- I think the longest we've ever [had], from start to finish. We were working on it for 15, 16 months," the duo's Brian Kelley explains. "So we had a lot of time to live with these songs, and also cut some songs off the record because new ones came in."
Over the time it took FGL to make their newest album, not only was the duo going through life changes, but the kind of music they wanted to make -- and listen to -- was continuing to evolve as well.
"I think our tastes even changed over that time, you know?" adds Tyler Hubbard. "Our writing changed, and the stuff that we were liking was back to that really country thing. I'll say probably about halfway through the album, we were drawn more to the really country songs, and those are kind of our favorites up to today."
Those songs were added to Can't Say I Ain't Country later in the album-making process. Songs such as "Y'all Boys" and "Can't Hide Red" -- two of the project's many collaborations, with Hardy and Jason Aldean, respectively -- were both added to the track list late in the game.
Still, there's much more to Florida Georgia Line's latest album than redneck anthems. The duo also included some soulful tracks, such as "Women," a collaboration with Jason Derulo that had been in the making since much earlier in the recording process.
"We'd been sitting on that song for two years," Kelley relates, adding that, despite the shifts that affected the album's overall track list, that song remained special to the duo. "It had to be on this record. It couldn't have been more perfect or meaningful timing than now.
"It's beautiful to see the response," he continues, "and to put it out at a time like now, it's encouraging. It's fulfilling. It's just beautiful."
On Can't Say I Ain't Country, Kelley and Hubbard also teamed with a comedic personality named Brother Jervel for four skits, which are interspersed between the disc's 15 songs. That addition, Kelley explains, was a throwback to a different kind of music, as well as a way to inject their own lighthearted comedy into the project.
"We just thought it would be a cool little ode to some of the old hip-hop records back in the day," he says. "It hadn't really been done in a long time, so we thought it would be a cool thing to do, and a cool way to show our personality."
The collaborations with Jervel also provided a way for Florida Georgia Line to, again, exercise their fame to bring attention to a newer artist they believe in. It's something that the duo has done in the past by collaborating with country up-and-comers such as Hardy and Morgan Wallen.
"Nobody's ever met Brother Jervel yet or knows who he is, but I think this is a fun platform to launch something like that," says Hubbard. "So we've kind of encouraged him, 'Hey, if you want to do something like this, now's the time.' We'll see what happens."
Even as they continue to experiment and grow as a group, Florida Georgia Line stay true to the formula that has landed them success in their country career to date. "I think we just stick to what we've always done: Try to write and record the best music we possibly can for whatever stage of life we're at," Hubbard continues. "I think that's what the plan for this was.
"With each album, it kind of describes who we are at the time: what we're into, what we're doing," he notes. "This album does the same as well."
Adds Kelley, "We thought we were going one way, and it literally just, not [went] the other way 100 percent, but it became a different album. It's cool to see where it landed.
"No artist should ever repeat themselves or make the same record twice," Kelley concludes. "It's just another take on our version of country music."
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