Kelsea Ballerini Cries ‘Happy Tears’ and Tributes Kenny Chesney as ‘Half Of My Hometown’ Hits No.1

Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney’s “Half Of My Hometown” is officially the No. 1 song at country radio.  The country…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 6, 2022


1:49 pm

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Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy ACM Awards

Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney’s “Half Of My Hometown” is officially the No. 1 song at country radio. 

The country superstars and East Tennessee natives topped the Mediabase Country Radio Singles chart this week and is also expected to end the week atop the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

The singer/songwriter couldn’t contain her excitement over the news and penned an emotional Instagram post in honor of the momentous occasion. 


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A post shared by Kelsea Ballerini (@kelseaballerini)

“Through very happy tears, ‘Half of my Hometown’ is the number one song in country music this week. It’s my seventh number one (wait WHAT!)…and it’s my favorite,” she wrote. 

The 28-year-old then went on to list out how her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, helped shape her as a person and artist. 

Ballerini also shouted out Chesney, saying he’s become “such a friend and brother” over the past few months. 


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A post shared by shane mcanally (@shanemcanally)

Ballerini co-wrote the song alongside Jimmy Robbins, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman and had a chance to celebrate the chart-topping news on Saturday, March 5, with several of her co-writers in Las Vegas. 

McAnally documented the moment on Instagram, writing, “Waking up in Vegas to the #1 song!!! So excited I got to toast ‘Half of my hometown’ last night with these beautiful people in front of the Eiffel Tower” alongside a photo of the co-writer (minus Copperman). 

“Half Of My Hometown,” which was in the No. 2 position last week, seizes the throne from Kane Brown’s “One Mississippi.” Following behind Ballerini and Chesney in the top 5 are Parker McCollum’s “To Be Loved By You,” Cody Johnson’s “‘Til You Can’t,” Morgan Wallen’s “Sand In My Boots,” and Sam Hunt’s “23.”

The No. 1 marks Ballerini’s seventh No. 1 hit, following “Hole In The Bottle,” and Chesney’s 35th, following his recent chart-topper, “Knowing You.”

Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by ABC/Randy Holmes, Kenny Chesney; Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for dcp
Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by ABC/Randy Holmes, Kenny Chesney; Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for dcp

“Half Of My Hometown” speaks to life after high school and shares how you still feel connected to the place you grew up, no matter if you stay or leave.

“Half of my hometown’s still hangin’ around/ Still talkin’ about that one touchdown/ They’re still wearin’ red and black/ Go Bobcats, while the other half/ Of my hometown they all got out/ Some went north Some went south/ Still lookin’ for a feelin’ half of us ain’t found/ So stay or leave/ Part of me will always be/ Half of my hometown,” goes the chorus.

After writing the heartfelt song during a songwriting retreat at the beach, Ballerini’s co-writers insisted that she text it to Chesney. Even though it was 2 am, Ballerini sent the text.

YouTube video

Chesney later recalled Ballerini’s message during an interview on Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. 

“She just called me one day and she goes, ‘I’m calling you to poke the bear,’ and I went, ‘What are you talking about?’ She says, ‘I’m getting ready to send you a song. I want you to listen to it and think about singing on it.’ And so I said, ‘yeah, of course, send me the song,’” Chesney explains. “And I listened to it and it was hard to listen to because it was so beautiful and it was so much about not only her life, but it was about my life and the same roads we drove down and I knew I wanted to sing on it.”

Chesney went on to admit that deciding to be part of this song was the right choice because of the meaning it holds for him as a fellow East Tennessee native. It’s not every day that Chesney says yes to collaborating with an artist on an album, but this was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up.

“And I’m really proud of it,” Chesney continued. “And I told her when we were done with it, that I was glad she asked me, but I’m very proud that I’m on that song with her. If the song was terrible, I wouldn’t sing on it, because trust me, I get asked a lot to sing on a lot of records and I turn them down because the song just isn’t perfect for me to sing on. But when I heard ‘Half Of My Hometown’ I just I went, ‘Yep, I’m going to sing on this song.’

YouTube video

Ballerini later brought the song to life with a cinematic music video that served as a tribute to her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.

The personal clip gives fans a look at what may have happened if Ballerini stayed in her hometown instead of moving to Nashville to pursue her musical dreams. The cinematic clip opens with a young Ballerini saying “goodbye” to her friends as she makes her way to Nashville, however, the truck ends up getting unloaded and she moves back into her childhood home.

Personal home videos of Ballerini are also featured as the “what if” story unfolds before viewers’ eyes. 

The song is currently nominated for Music Event Of The Year at the 57 Academy Of Country Music Awards. Tune into Prime Video on Monday, March 7, at 8/7c to see if Ballerini and Chesney will take home the trophy.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.