Whatever roller coaster ride country music is on these days, Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard are surely riding in the front car with their arms raised. And if the early returns on Florida Georgia Line’s latest release, “Dig Your Roots,” released Aug. 26, are any indication, it might be a while before the bro-country duo’s ride comes to a complete stop.
The band’s current single, “H.O.L.Y.,” a love song with religious overtones — “you’re my kinda church” is the closing line to an effusive jumble of gushy devotion — has grabbed the top spot on Billboard Hot Country Songs for weeks. The song won’t stop religious philosophers in their tracks with its theological underpinnings. But it’s one of many signs that the rambunctious party ramble the band is known for might have softened a little.
Love, faith and family are consistent themes here. The boys hint broadly that they have done some growing up.
Not that there isn’t rambunctiousness on the album. Any portrait of the state of country music in 2016 would have to account for a reggae-infused pairing with Ziggy Marley on “Life Is A Honeymoon” — “serve the cerveza ’cause we wanna sip it” — and a grab-bag of references to Jimi Hendrix, Tupac Shakur and George Strait helps sustain the pedal-to-the-metal party vibe that made the band popular in the first place.
Nothing on “Dig Your Roots” will bend the arc of country music in new directions. But even with its signs of maturity, the album makes clear that one of the bands at the top of the country music hill right now has no intention of slowing down.