Lou Ridley is putting a new spin on songs about home with her latest single, “Hometown,” released in August. While most country songs about hometowns find artists romanticizing the place in which they grew up, the song by Ridley finds her confronting difficult things she experienced in her hometown of Southlake, TX, a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth.
In the raw and honest tune, Ridley shares her truth, singing of being bullied by a group of girls to the point where she was forced to eat lunch in the bathroom. And in an even more vulnerable moment in the second verse, Ridley also reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a group of male peers. All these hard memories lead Ridley to miss parts of her home — such as her family and the good memories associated with them — but not her hometown.
“I miss home sometimes, but I don’t miss my hometown,” she sings in the chorus.
“As I got older I kind of blocked it out, and then a couple of months ago, my friend and I were talking and he was like, ‘You never talk about your high school. How was your high school experience?’” Ridley shared with Sounds Like Nashville. “I started to think about all that stuff again that I sort of blocked out, as you do, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m really tired of country artists only writing songs about how much they like their hometown.’ I’m so happy that people have had that experience because everybody deserves that, but I think there’s a gap here in the actuality of what a lot of us are going through.”
Ridley doubles down on how she feels about her hometown in the unapologetic bridge of the tune, in which she repeats the phrase, “F*** my hometown.” Since releasing “Hometown,” Ridley has received positive reactions on TikTok and other social media outlets from people who have had similar experiences, which has made revisiting those memories more than worth it.
“For me it’s exciting to have people that maybe don’t always feel seen feel like somebody’s out there supporting them,” says Ridley. “A lot of artists are doing that, not just me, but I’m happy to be part of that narrative.”
The authentic lyrics crafted by Ridley and producer Alex Angelo are paired with driving acoustic guitar and ambient elements. The tune showcases a unique brand of country music from the singer who has called herself an “anti-country” country artist, a phrase rooted in Ridley’s desire to help country music become more inclusive.
“I don’t want anyone to misinterpret that as me saying ‘country sucks,’” says Ridley. “I grew up on country, I love country music, but I do find that there is a lack of representation and inclusivity in country right now.
“I really value connecting with people and building the largest platform I possibly can in order to make it cool to have a sense of community again and care about each other,” she adds. “I’m a big human rights advocate, I do a lot of work with the unhoused and I’m extremely vocal about social injustice. I want to go as far as music can possibly take me and I want to have that happen in tandem with having a positive, lasting effect on the people I’m able to reach.” Ridley is set to release a new EP, Angel/Outlaw, later this year.