This Town

Album: Through The Thin (2016)
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Songfacts®:

  • In "This Town," Ashley Riley sings about Decatur, Illinois, and a friendship she had there. She sings about how things are being torn down and how this this friend keeps insulting the place, insisting in the chorus:

    Home's not where my heart is
    Home's just where I started


    Riley is sick of the friend's negative attitude.
  • In a Songfacts interview with Ashley Riley, she said the song was drawn from her own life. In its heyday, her stomping grounds of Decatur enjoyed a thriving economy and a strong blue-collar job market. She admits the city has fallen on hard times but doesn't see the point in tearing the place down, as some residents do. the tendency among some residents to try to tear the place down.

    When Riley released the song, Archer Daniels Midland and Caterpillar still had major presences in the town and provided most of the jobs, but the city had been seeing economic and population decline for years. The city was, in fact, the third fastest-declining American city from 2010 to 2019, according to the Census Bureau.
  • Riley was born in the village of Long Creek, Illinois, which is in the Decatur metro area. "This Town" appears on her EP (basically a short album with too few songs to qualify as a full-length album) Through the Thin, which followed her debut album All the Pretty Things. For years Riley had been a prominent act on the local Decatur music scene and had chosen to forego the usual path of leaving her hometown to be discovered in a big city like Nashville or Los Angeles. Her attitude on the matter comes through in this song, as in her real life she'd shaken off that negativity and decided to pursue her dreams right there in the place where she'd been born.

    She continued to build her legacy around Decatur and, four years after recording this song, landed her most successful single with the song "Close To Me." That song won her top prize with a prominent regional organization named the Midwest Music Expo.

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