After giving the nostalgic anthem a debut performance on the recent ACM Awards (April 18), they are now sending the track to country radio as Ballerini’s next official single.
Co-written by Ballerini to capture the conflicting emotions of coming of age in a small-town — with the pull of deep roots often matched only by a steady push to get out, and explore the whole world — the collab finds a pair of Knoxville natives putting their hearts together for the first time. And it’s all about a sentiment both of them know from experience.
“Besides being a dream collaboration with Kenny, which I still can’t believe happened, this is really a love letter to home,” Ballerini says of the track. “It can be about wherever you’re from and the people who love you, support you, drove you crazy, made you cry, and made you who you are.”
“There’s a real tug of who you are and who you were in the place where you grow up, and that never leaves you,” Chesney adds. “When Kelsea sent me ‘half of my hometown,’ it was everything that leaving is: the tug of what you’re leaving, the need to chase your dreams, the truth of all the good things and the hunger to see the rest of the world. I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough once I heard it.”
“Half of My Hometown” by Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney appears on Ballerini’s third album, kelsea, which arrived in March of 2020. It follows her Gold-certified “Hole In the Bottle,” which featured a remix with another country icon — Shania Twain — and rose into country radio’s Top 5. The hit maker recently filled in for Kelly Clarkson as a coach on NBC’s The Voice.