Rough Town

Album: Shake! Shake! Shake! (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • The titular "Rough Town" is Hartford, Connecticut, where the band formed. Hartford gets a bad rap, sometimes from folks who live there, but frequently by the folks who live in its suburban orbit, either working there or driving through it from time to time en route to Boston or New York City.

    Once a thriving and productive city held in high regard, it has been obliterated by poverty and poor urban planning (especially a decision to run a highway through what was its downtown). And while the sidewalks roll up around 6pm most nights and it has no major sports team, Hartford isn't all bad, and is not nearly as scary as it is perceived by many in its suburbs.

    Frontman Chris Henderson wrote the song based on the response he got when telling folks he was from the city. "Some people would say, 'Oh, you're from Hartford... heard that's a rough town," he told us, adding: "While Hartford, much like other cities, has its struggles with crime, it's where most of us in the band live and we enjoy it. I'm not a native of Hartford, but I found myself defending it on several occasions. After thinking about it for a while I decided that the bigger concept is not what you see, but how you choose to see it. I live here and choose to see this city in a positive light. In the last several years I've seen places and people transformed by positive thinking. I never hope to sound too preachy on this topic, but I am a firm believer in making the best of what's around you."

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