Add two more names to the recent calls for political unity: Country stars Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard are making their own with their new song, “Undivided,” singing, “I think it’s time to come together.” Despite what the timing may look like, the song wasn’t inspired by the recent riot at the Capitol and the ensuing impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Hubbard began writing “Undivided” while quarantining on his tour bus in his driveway after testing positive for COVID-19, and the musicians announced the song on the day before the riot, January 5. Still, the parallels between its lyrics and the right-wing fixation on unity after the riot feel a bit uncanny. “Let the Good Lord reunite us / Till this country that we love’s / Undivided,” the pair sings in the chorus. McGraw calls out political division even more directly in the bridge, singing, “I’m tired of lookin’ left or right / So I’m just lookin’ up.”
McGraw and Hubbard’s song comes after the riot exposed some division in country music as well — beginning with Hubbard’s own band. Brittney Kelley, wife of Hubbard’s Florida Georgia Line bandmate, Brian Kelley, made an Instagram post on January 6 seemingly in support of the Capitol rioters. “God please protect our Country & the people who fight for our freedom everyday 🙏🏽,” she wrote. “Praying for peace and unity for all 🇺🇸.” In another post, Kelley later clarified, “I do not believe in violence, or mobs/cults rioting or storming buildings,” and “I do not believe ‘patriots’ are the people storming the building.” Yet meanwhile, country star Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany, was using her Instagram to share the disproven conspiracy that antifa had led the riot rather than the Trump supporters. (Instagram removed the photo she reposted.) “I have AMAZING conversations with my liberal friends and we can agree to disagree,” Brittany Aldean later wrote on her Instagram Story on January 10. “It’s the people that aren’t willing to hear you that chap my ass.” (For her part, Hubbard’s wife, Hayley, has vocally supported President-elect Joe Biden on her social media. And per the Washington Post, McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, donated to the Biden campaign.)
Yet not all country musicians have been so quick to jump on the unity bandwagon. Maren Morris and Mickey Guyton had a Twitter exchange calling out the riots shortly after they happened, with Guyton writing, “I am completely disgusted. Are these boys still backing the blue? Asking for a friend.” Morris replied, “And how do some singer’s wives conveniently not know the difference between marching for racial injustice and Nazis breaching our Capitol because their guy didn’t win? 🙄.” Guyton replied, “I know exactly who you’re talking about,” with a GIF of Megan Thee Stallion.