“Half of My Hometown”
Kelsea Ballerini featuring Kenny Chesney
Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Nicole Galyon, Shane McAnally, and Jimmy Robbins
There’s a great record in here and it’s trying to get out.
“Half of My Hometown” is beautifully written, with enough specific details about Ballerini’s specific experience growing up in East Tennessee to distinguish it from songs with similar themes. The sentiment is clearly there, and you can hear twinges of bittersweet nostalgia in certain moments of her vocal.
Holding it back from greatness are two curious choices. The first is to saddle a gentle, acoustic arrangement with a programmed drum track. The second is to deliver the song without melody or variation in tone. This is a song with deep meaning to both singers, but they don’t actually sing it.
The lyric is strong enough that it’s still worth a listen, but it plays more like a demo with a scratch vocal than a finished record.