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Give Me Back My Hometown by Eric Church
Album: The OutsidersReleased: 2014Charted:
This wistful, nostalgic ballad finds Church revisiting his hometown as he tries to get over his ex. He sings at the track's opening:
Damn, I used to love this view
Sit here and drink a few
Main Street in high school
Up on Friday night
The rootsy tune was penned by Church with Luke Laird. It was the second song to be released from The Outsiders
album following the title track
Church and longtime collaborator Jay Joyce worked together on The Outsiders, which was recorded at an old church in East Nashville that the producer had bought and converted into a studio. The singer told Billboard magazine: "Jay had to become an ordained minister to purchase the church, and anybody who knows him knows that that's its own joke - it tells itself."
The video was directed by veternan filmmaker Peter Zavadil, who's worked with Church on a number of his other clips for such songs as "Creepin
" and "Springsteen
." The visual served as the first chapter of an overarching narrative featuring characters that make appearances throughout the remainder of The Outsiders
Luke Laird told Roughstock
that he and Church wrote the song in March 2013. "He went up to his cabin in North Carolina, which he did before the last record, too," explained the songwriter. "He stays out there for probably a month or two and just writes songs. He has different writers come out there and write with him. I went up there and we wrote five songs in two or three days. That was one of them. He had that idea, and he already knew that he wanted to write a song called 'Give Me Back My Hometown.' I just thought it was a great idea, so we went from there."
"He is literally one of the best writers I've ever written with," continued Laird. "If he weren't an artist, he would probably be in town just writing songs for other people. He always has really good ideas. Obviously for him as an artist, he knows exactly what he wants to say. As a writer going into that situation, that's always a good feeling, knowing that it's not all going to fall on your shoulders. I always go in there with some ideas, but he's going to have all of his ideas, too. It's always fun working with him."
Church said this is one of the loneliest songs he's ever recorded. "Something that anybody knows more than anybody else is their hometown. That's where they're most comfortable, that's their comfort," he explained. "The loneliest thing about this song to me is here's a guy who's left in that place that should be the most comforting place to him, and it's actually the place that haunts him because the girl left him and there's memories of her everywhere."
The song interests Church as a songwriter because of the opposition the main character feels: he's supposed to feel safe in his hometown, but his former lover left her mark all over it and he can't erase those memories from his mind. "It's about a guy that's still in his hometown. He's in the most familiar place, the place he knows better than anything, but because his female lover left him there, all those places that he knows so well, become so haunting and foreign to him," Church explained.
"To be at the place that you grow up at that is your home, and the person that left you there took that from you, there's nothing lonelier than that," he added. "So, I love that dichotomy of 'Give Me Back My Hometown,' when the person's in it, they're standing in it, and that appealed to me as a songwriter."