Music

Tim McGraw, Tyler Hubbard’s ‘Undivided’ Inspired By National News

Tyler Hubbard couldn’t help but be affected by the many heartbreaks of 2020. The worst of it inspired him to write “Undivided,” a song that both he and collaborator Tim McGraw say is a mirror.

The peppy, pop-friendly country bop simply asks us to treat our neighbors with decency and kindness. That’s hardly a rare message, but it’s personalized by two men who heard the words as an accountability check.

Hubbard — who wrote the song in quarantine while battling COVID-19 in November — says it was definitely inspired a turbulent year in America. Almost immediately, he sent it to McGraw, who was road-tripping home from visiting his daughters in California and had to stop at a gas station in Montana to find the bandwidth to listen to it.

“The first thing I thought was it made me think, ‘Wow, am I doing this?'” McGraw tells Taste of Country Nights. Hubbard — sitting to his right during the interview — echoes the sentiment.

“‘Am I thinking this way? Am I projecting this when I’m talking to people? Am I leading toward the darkness or am I leading to the light?'” McGraw continues.

When the Florida Georgia Line singer holed up on his tour bus last fall, acrimony from the presidential election was lingering. COVID-19 was flexing. Social unrest was still palpable across America.

Amid all of this noise, Hubbard found 12 days of forced peace and quiet and turned out 10 songs, some of which find him reflecting on these topics or his life. This intensely personal time is one he hopes to recreate yearly, save for the coronavirus infection.

Sending “Undivided” (available Jan. 13) to labelmate McGraw seemed like a no-brainer. The two like-minded artists had collaborated previously on FGL’s “May We All.”

Look for “Undivided” on the deluxe version of McGraw’s Here on Earth album when it’s released this spring. It figures to be the only Hubbard/McGraw moment on the project, but the veteran singer did jokingly inquire about the rights to those other nine songs the FGL star wrote.

Hubbard says he has no plans for those yet, and even though he and FGL bandmate Brian Kelley plan on taking time for some solo work, he’s not sure he’ll actually craft an album of his own.

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