The roots of Eastern Tennessee run deep for country superstars Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney. On her 2020 self-titled album, Ballerini even wrote a song about her hometown called “Half Of My Hometown.” Before finalizing this track, she decided to make a call to Chesney, who ended up making an excellent addition this song.
In an interview on Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen, Chesney recounts the touching moment he got this call from Ballerini.
“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 agrees that deciding to be part of this song was the right choice because of the meaning it holds for him. 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.’
Chesney and Ballerini recently gave a stunning performance of “Half Of My Hometown” together on April 18 at the 56th ACM Awards.