Cover Story: Florida Georgia Line

Objective: To explore the music of country-crossover act Florida Georgia Line and discuss the group’s influences.

NAfME National Standards:  6, 7, 8

Begin: Have the students read “A Fine Line” in page 36 of the student edition. The article discusses several key points:

  1. How the band members began their musical careers
  2. Their influences
  3. How they met and began collaborating
  4. How they developed as songwriters and performers
  5. How they emerged as a commercially successful group
  6. The role each plays in the group

Expand: Listen to the song “Cruise,” the group’s first big hit:

This live video above gives students a chance to see how it’s performed live. Discuss some of the qualities of the arrangement and performance.

  • Doubled vocals in certain sections
  • Blend of acoustic and electric instruments
  • The stagecraft shown by Tyler Hubbard walks out to sing to the audience.

Compare: Now listen to a version of the same song, performed with rap-artist Nelly

How are these arrangements similar and how are they different?

  • The song has similar structure, basic instrumentation, and key
  • Nelly comes in at about 1:50.
  • The sound has a breakdown
  • Hubbard does an impression of scratching
  • About 2:40, the whole thing kicks into a new direction into Nelly’s song “Must Be the Money,” which has a dub/reggae/hip-hop feel.

Conclude

Have the students compare and contrast both versions of “Cruise,” discussing differences in the arrangement, instrumentation and performance? Lead a discussion about how successfully country-rock and hip-hop came together in the second version. Talk about the transition to “Must Be the Money”: was it a successful segue? Why did it work (or not work)?

Assessment

  1. Were the students able to identify the genres of each version?
  2. Were the students able to articulate the similarities between the two versions of the song?
  3. Were the students able to articulate the differences between the two versions of the song?
  4. When making a critical evaluation of the song, were the students able to support their comments by referencing elements in the arrangements and performances of the two versions?