Highly popular Christian music artist Chris Tomlin has just released a "surprise" country album featuring other popular artists such as Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, and Lady A. 

The album comes as somewhat of a surprise as Tomlin has made a name for himself as a chart-topping Christian/Pop artist. But this album, with its surprise direction is something Tomlin holds close to his heart as he explained, "It's the surprise record of my career, for sure. It's out of the blue where actually I didn't see it coming. I think that's what makes it really special - I wasn't looking for it. There was no pressure because I didn't even know if it would ever exist in the first place."  

During an interview in the podcast Country Faith Radio, Tomlin told host Chrissy Met of the origins of the album. Tomlin had just come back from tour, and coincidentally met Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line at the gym. After introducing himself, Tomlin found out he had been a major inspiration for Hubbard to take up music.  

"After that, the next day we started hanging.  [We were] just dreaming about, 'Man, what would it be like to smash up our genres together, smash up our worlds together and write some songs?" Never thinking we're going to make an album," Tomlin elucidated.  

The album, titled "Chris Tomlin & Friends," features a plethora of popular country music artists and combines elements of Pop, Worship, Country, and Gospel music genres.  When talking about the beginning stages of the record development with Forbes, Tomlin said "There's a closeness between the music of the church and country music. Always has been. You look at the history of country music, the history of any music, and the church is very, very close."