Ellis Island Provides Setting For Florida Georgia Line’s ‘Dig Your Roots’ Release


Keeping with the theme of their new album title, Dig Your Roots, Florida Georgia Line celebrated the release of their third studio album this week in New York City. The project was released on Friday, Aug. 26 through Big Machine and Big Loud Mountain. It was produced by Joey Moi and contains 15 tracks, six of which were co-written by Jordan Schmidt, a writer for FGL’s publishing company Tree Vibez.

A VIP reception, presented by Budweiser, was held on Monday, Aug. 29, in The Registry Room (or “The Great Hall,” as it is called today) at the iconic Ellis Island, which was originally used for processing immigrants. Ellis Island was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954, drawing in 5,000 to 10,000 people through the immigration station each day. The island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Interesting fact: Estimates show that close to 40 percent of all U. S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors back to Ellis Island.

MusicRow sat down with Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley on Ellis Island for an exclusive conversation about the new project. Kelley was eager to share details about collaborating with Tim McGraw for the second single, “May We All,” and the duo’s experience of cutting their acting chops in the song’s music video.

How did the collaboration on “May We All” with Tim McGraw come about?

“May We all” came in pretty early in the Dig Your Roots recording process. It was one of the earlier songs. On this album, we knew we wanted to do more collaborations since we didn’t have any on the Anything Goes album. We took it on a song-by-song basis and let it happen naturally. For this song, it was easy for us to know we wanted McGraw on it.

What drew you to bring McGraw in on this project?

He’s a legend and we’ve always loved him. I can even tell you where I was when I first heard “Don’t Take The Girl.” I’m a huge fan. He is the man! He’s on our label so we hit him up and he loved the song. We didn’t get to record it together but shooting the video was a day that Tyler and I will never forget. He’s a total pro, shows up in character and gave a lot of really good advice. He said, “Don’t act. Just let it be natural. Let it be organic and let it happen.” I think Tyler and I showed up prepared and ready to do that. Making a mini-movie gives our fans something different. It allowed us to get in the acting world a little bit and dip our toes.

Now that you’ve had a chance to show off your acting chops in the new video, is acting something you would like to add to your career?

Man, I think we both would love to! It’s something that has always interested us. If the right thing came along and we could get creative, taking it to the next level and be fresh, that would be amazing. It’s a really cool outlet because who doesn’t love the movies and TV shows and short films? Today, when Tyler and I get any free time, we love to catch up on a good show or movie and hopefully our fans would love to see us in something different. If the right thing came along, I think we would jump at it, work really hard and make sure it was quality material.

Invited guests at the celebration, which consisted of broadcasting, media influencers and team members, noshed at several food stations highlighting many different cuisines. Old Camp Whiskey, FGL’s newly released peach pecan whiskey, appeared in the featured cocktail, allowing attendees to taste the newly minted drink. Beer drinkers were also pleased with offerings from Budweiser, the company FGL has teamed up with on their Dig Your Roots Tour.

Big Machine's Scott Borchetta and Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard

Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta and Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard in The Great Hall

Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott Borchetta presented FGL with plaques honoring one million downloads of “H.O.L.Y.,” the first single from the “Dig Your Roots” project which also topped the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart on July 7.

The evening culminated with the exciting world premiere of the music video for “May We All” directed by TK McKamy, featuring Tim McGraw. The song is FGL’s second single from the Dig Your Roots album. Produced like a mini-movie, the five-minute-plus video includes moments of intense suspense, giving FGL members Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley an opportunity to try out their acting chops.


FGL has teamed with YouTube to produce the behind-the-scenes content of the new video in 360° virtual-reality technology. Guests were given the Google Cardboard viewer and, by inserting their smartphone into the device, they were able to experience an immersive, 360° 3D environment from the set of the video.

The following day, broadcasters from all over the United States and Canada gathered to interview FGL, as well as key members of their team including Google Cardboard’s Aaron Luber, Tree Vibez songwriter Jordan Schmidt, Big Loud Mountain’s Seth England, Live Nation Nashville’s Brian O’Connell, Proximo Spirits’ Scott Green, and FGL Tour Manager and Management Consultant Troy “Tracker” Johnson. Interview segments were broadcast live on air during the day from the heart of Manhattan at 246 Fifth The Yard.

Guests take private ferry to the iconic Ellis Island.

Guests take private ferry to the iconic Ellis Island.


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Sherod Robertson is President and Owner of MusicRow Enterprises. He oversees all operations and develops strategic initiatives for MusicRow magazine, RowFax, and MusicRow's CountryBreakout chart. Robertson previously served as Director of Finance of Arista Records after beginning his career as Vice President of Finance and CFO at Reunion Records.

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