Country music megastar Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard, half of Florida Georgia Line, have lived huge segments of their professional lives on the world’s biggest stages. None of those venues, though, can compare to the special stage the luminaries took last night in Music City. The two joined a stellar cast of artists assembled for Celebrating America to perform their anthem, “Undivided.”
The prime-time TV spectacular screened across all major networks and featured Tom Hanks as host. Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard were high on the roster that included the Foo Fighters, John Legend, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, and Justin Timberlake. Celebrities from sports, big screens, small screens, and every other realm of American culture participated. The televised festivities replaced the usual inaugural ball coverage which usually follows the marking of a peaceful transfer of power. The evening’s opener, Bruce Springsteen, is another Tim McGraw buddy who set the perfect tone with “Land of Hope & Dreams.”
The theme of the Biden inauguration is “America United.” None of the performers seems to miss the invitation-only ball that very few Americans ever get to attend. Celebrating America was a celebration for all, and rightly honors the heroes, not in the headlines who breathe life into the nation every day. Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard explained what made the night so “surreal” and special on Today. The big hit is much “bigger” than either of its superstars, and “Undivided” delivers a divine message of healing for Nashville, the nation, and countless hopeful hearts.
A song for the times and the technically-challenged Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw takes no offense at all with Tyler Hubbard calling “Undivided” “a gift from God,” that came to him during his quarantine from the virus on his tour bus parked in the driveway. Besides his health recovery, Hubbard insists that the song came whole, lyrically and melodically. “It was like I didn’t write the song” Tyler reflects. In contrast, he feels “it was given to me as a gift.” Tyler never had any doubts about who would sing the song. He rushed it to Tim McGraw, who had to struggle to hear it for a while.
Tyler asked Tim to “put ears on this,” regarding the track. The request wasn’t so easy for the seasoned artist. McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, took family road trips as their way of therapy and bonding through the lockdown. “We were driving back from out West,” the singer explains of last November. “I had to stop at a gas station because I’m so technically-challenged.”
The delay didn’t matter once he heard the song. “I listen to it all the way home,” Tim McGraw recalls. “It hit me right in the heart.” The Country king knew the song had a message that everyone needed to hear as soon as he and Tyler Hubbard laid down the track. The recording session for “Undivided” happened before the holidays.
‘Undivided’ pulls back from the dark path
“It’s easy to sorta go down a dark path sometimes,” Tim McGraw confirms. The mayhem and destruction unleashed on the capitol just weeks ago verify that the unimaginable can happen, but the human spirit and democracy have a strength that no fear, offense, or anger can crush. The shining sun was gleaming on the West front for the ceremony, and unity was the visible portrait of the day.
“Am I losing the light that I have?” Tim McGraw asked himself. The question related to more than the music that motivates the country music icon. The family man strives to be a light in the way he helps “in my community and how I teach my girls certain things.” From bullying to the bigger questions in life, “Undivided” provokes the question of the heart. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are a strong family who voted together in the election, but public health, human needs, and a future for every child are not political issues. 400,000 lives are lost and the only solution is to survive and thrive together.
Bridging the gap with Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard
More than once, Tyler Hubbard called the “Undivided” experience “a miracle.” Tim McGraw describes how the ballad brought him back to “check myself” and assure he is the same artist who sang “Humble and Kind.” The stage the two good guys in black shared for their Celebrating America moment had deep and personal meaning.
Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard praise Nashville as “a vibrant, beautiful, wonderful community of great people,” as McGraw asserts. Despite the tornadoes last spring and Christmas Day bombing, the spirit of Music City shines through adversity, never defeated. The lights of Nashville illuminated the background for the performance of “Undivided” under the city’s most famous bridge.
The “surreal” setting of “bridging a gap” does not escape Tyler Hubbard. “The song is bigger than us,” the singer states as Tim McGraw nods. “And anything is possible.” The energy in the performance emits hope as clearly as the “smoke” singers’ breath in the chilly air.
The song that pleads for parting in seeing issues as “all white or all black” and turning to a vision from “someone else’s eyes” fit perfectly into the theme of the night. Tyler Hubbard and Tim McGraw will be friends for life. Hubbard touted that FLG fans will have an album in February and perhaps a tour by late summer or fall. Diversions don’t have to be destructive to any solid union. Hoda Kotb flashed her famous smile.