Florida Georgia Line won't look back on their new album, Can't Say I Ain't Country. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard will instead mark new territory and find a balance between songs that are high energy and those that dig deep.

One of those deep-diving songs, Kelley reveals, is the duo's collaboration with Jason Derulo (title still under wraps). The lyrics apparently pay homage to a person you hold in the highest regard in a way that makes the song feel "next level."

"That one's going to have a big impact; that one's going to really connect. We kind of knew it the day we wrote it and got in the studio and recorded it," Kelley tells Taste of Country. "It's a tribute song, and it's done in a way that just sounds right. I feel like we really executed the songwriting and the recording of it and hopefully our fans take notice in that, too. The content of the song, the message, is what's going to be big."

To stay true to the album title, Can't Say I Ain't Country, Florida Georgia Line stirred traditional country elements into the production, along with honest storytelling lyrics to create an authentic country sound. Sure, the project is a bit of a melting pot, but the country elements are to be found in songs aimed for live shows and the streaming audience.

"It's a nod of the cap, kind of a throwback, FGL twist on some '90s country — our roots. It's probably our most country record yet. It still sounds and feels like FGL, and I think that's when we know we've done our job. But it still sounds fresh — another way you haven't heard us," he says. "Everything's a little louder, a little bigger. I don't think we've ever repeated ourselves and we love that about it. We've tried very hard and very intentionally not to do that." 

Can't Say I Ain't Country is a bold album title for one of the most controversial, 'are they or aren't they' acts in country music history. Since we met them, the duo has been at the center of the ongoing analysis from fans and critics about what it means to truly be country. Kelley recognizes that country artists from all decades have faced this same scrutiny, and he sees the value in genre artists adopting varying sounds.

"There has always been, 'What's country?' Well it's all country, it's just all different," Kelley says. "That argument ... I just don't think it's a thing anymore. I think people are realizing the country word is wide open. If you feel country, you're country. If you want to be country, you're country. I think that's what drew me to country music as a child, listening to Alan Jackson. I went country — everybody went country at some point — so that's something we should celebrate."

Embracing these differences, Kelley says, is what makes country music such a unique genre.

"Everybody's from a different place. There's country everywhere, and that's something to be super proud of," he adds. "If we are as we are unique individuals, then everybody is their own version of country. That's the most beautiful thing about it."

Can't Say it Ain't Country is expected on Feb. 15, 2019. A coinciding tour kicks off in March.

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