Jo Smith’s ‘For This Town’ Is A Ballad Of Hope, Heartache & Growth

A heart-rending masterpiece penned by Smith, Liz Rose and JT Harding...

Written by Jeremy Chua
Jo Smith’s ‘For This Town’ Is A Ballad Of Hope, Heartache & Growth
Jo Smith; Photo credit: Lindsey Kanes

Country singer and U.S. Navy Reserve Jo Smith has released an achingly beautiful new song called “For This Town.”

The tender tune opens with Smith detailing her journey to Nashville through “a ride, with a friend of a friend of a cousin,” before setting her roots and eventually, for better or worse, experiencing both the joys and woes of every Music City dream chaser.

“I’ve laid in the floor and cried for this town / I’ve come alive and I’ve died for this town / I’ve called home and I’ve lied for this town / But what I’ve lost ain’t close to what I found / In this town,” the singer delivers emotionally in the vulnerable, heart-tugging chorus.

“Writing ‘For This Town’ was everything you wait for as a songwriter: when it comes easily, honestly, and out of the blue,” Smith tells Sounds Like Nashville. “I wrote the song with Liz Rose and JT Harding, and the lyric fell out one line at a time.

“There was no ‘hook’ we were writing towards, and no gimmicks. We were all so moved by it—it was personal to each of us—that we knocked on my publisher’s door to play it for her live right after we wrote it.”

Nashville is notoriously known as a “ten year town” and Smith has seen all of that, and more. Having gone through the ringer of working her way up, signing to a major label and now being independent, the Georgia native has experienced her fair share of highs and lows. However, instead of harboring bitterness or giving up, “For This Town” is penned and delivered from a retrospective place of gratitude for her growth on this passion-fueled journey.

“My favorite line is ‘got a hand full of humble I didn’t even come here for, but that’s alright,’” the singer admits. “I know it may not be the cool thing to do to talk about an unrealized dream, but it’s a reality I think we can all relate to right now.

“So many have seen their dreams reduced to rubble this year, but I hope this song lifts people up to see that, sometimes, not reaching your goals on your timeline can turn out to have a beautiful upside.”

With both heartaches and silver linings on her journey, it’s no wonder why Smith dubs this track “the most autobiographical song [she’s] released to date.”

Singers, songwriters, producers and musicians in Music City will find a home in Smith’s new song. But universally, anyone who’s rejoiced and cried on their journey to achieve a dream will be able to relate to it in a profoundly cathartic way. 

“For This Town” is out now. Be sure to check out her previous release, “Wyoming,” with country icon Vince Gill.