Kelsea Ballerini recruited Kenny Chesney to join her on "half of my hometown" on her March 2020 album, kelsea, and the two stars performed the song on television together for the first time on Sunday night during the ACM Awards. Ballerini and Chesney delivered their performance sitting on stools and wearing coordinated blue denim ensembles on stage at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
Written by Ballerini, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Jimmy Robbins and Ross Copperman, "half of my hometown" is a thoughtful ode to Ballerini and Chesney's shared hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. "Half of my hometown's still hangin' around / Still talkin' about that one touchdown," the chorus reads. "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."
After the show, Chesney posted a clip from the performance on Instagram, on which Ballerini commented, "Hometown hero, newfound friend." On her own page, the 27-year-old shared a photo from the performance and wrote, "my dear friend and hometown hero @kennychesney, you joining this song means the world to me." She also thanked the ACM Awards for letting her and Chesney debut the song on the Opry stage and told fans that they could start requesting the song, Ballerini's next single, at country radio on Monday, April 19.
Chesney told Kelleigh Banneon on Today's Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country that he wanted to join Ballerini on the song as soon as he heard it. "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?'" he recalled. "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.' 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. And I'm really proud of it."
The 53-year-old added that he is frequently approached about collaborations and often turns them down but was "proud" to join Ballerini on "half of my hometown." "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," he said. The song is the fourth single from kelsea, following "homecoming queen?," "the other girl" and the No. 1 "hole in the bottle."