Kelsea Ballerini‘s “Half of My Hometown,” featuring Kenny Chesney, takes each act back to familiar territory: No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart (dated March 12). The coronation marks Ballerini’s fifth and Chesney’s record-extending 32nd.
In the tracking week ending March 6, the single, released on Black River Records, gained by 10% to 26.4 million audience impressions, according to MRC Data.
Ballerini wrote the song with Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally and Jimmy Robbins. Ballerini, Copperman and Robbins produced it.
“I think a good country song isn’t necessarily about the sonics, but the storytelling,” says Ballerini, who shares a hometown with Chesney: Knoxville, Tenn. “‘Half of My Hometown’ is the story of the tug of war I’ve felt since moving away from Knoxville at 15 years old to go to Nashville and chase this down. It’s four minutes of honoring the place that raised me.”
She continues, “I remember hearing Kenny Chesney on the radio growing up with [1996’s] ‘Back Where I Come From’ and it being such an epiphany moment that he was singing about the place where I was living. He’s my hometown hero and he lends a feeling to this story that I can only describe as full-circle magic. I’m honored and overjoyed that this song has gotten the life that my co-writers and I had our fingers crossed for.”
“Hometown,” up from No. 2, marks Ballerini’s first Country Airplay leader since “Legends” in February 2018. The former is from her third LP, Kelsea, which debuted at its No. 2 peak on Top Country Albums in April 2020, her highest-ranking and fourth of five top 10s.
In between “Hometown” and “Legends,” Ballerini charted five Country Airplay entries, including two No. 2 hits: “Hole in the Bottle” (February 2021) and “Miss Me More” (June 2019).
Ballerini scored her first Country Airplay No. 1 with her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It” in July 2015, as she became the first woman to top the tally with a rookie single since Carrie Underwood with “Jesus, Take the Wheel” in January 2006.
“Love” began Ballerini’s run of three straight career-opening Country Airplay No. 1s, making her the first woman to accomplish the feat since Wynonna Judd, who started her solo career with three consecutive leaders in 1992. Ballerini reigned again with “Dibs” in March 2016 and “Peter Pan” in September 2016. (All four of her prior No. 1s led for a week each.)
Meanwhile, as Chesney banks his 32nd Country Airplay No. 1, and first since “Here and Now” in July 2020, he pads a chart-topping history that began in 1997 with “She’s Got It All.” He furthers his lead for the most No. 1s since the chart launched in January 1990 over runner-up Tim McGraw, with 29.
BENTLEY HOISTS ‘BEERS’ Dierks Bentley posts his 26th top 10 on the airplay-, streaming- and sales-based Hot Country Songs chart, as “Beers on Me,” with Breland and HARDY, lifts 11-9.
On Country Airplay, “Beers” rises 10-9 for a new high (16.1 million, up 5%). It drew 6 million U.S. streams and sold 900 downloads in the tracking week.
The song follows Bentley’s “Gone,” which hit No. 2 on Hot Country Songs last June. HARDY adds his second top 10 on the chart, after “One Beer,” featuring Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson, reached No. 4 in November 2020. Breland earns his first top 10, after “My Truck” rode to No. 24 in July 2020 and “Throw It Back,” featuring Keith Urban, hit No. 38 last August.
FERTILE SOIL Jordan Davis’ “Buy Dirt,” featuring Luke Bryan, leads Hot Country Songs for a fourth frame, rebounding from No. 3.
The track – which paced Country Airplay for two weeks starting Jan. 29, becoming Davis’ third No. 1 and Bryan’s 26th – corralled 9.4 million streams in the tracking week, up 23%. It jumps 4-1 on Country Streaming Songs, where Davis achieves his first leader and Bryan adds his fifth.
‘FIRE’ BURNING Eric Church notches his 17th Country Airplay top 10 as “Heart on Fire” climbs 11-10 (15.5 million, up 2%).
The song follows “Hell of a View,” which became Church’s sixth Country Airplay No. 1 in May 2021. He first hit the top 10 with “Love Your Love the Most,” which reached No. 10 in October 2009.
‘STORY’ SONG Jana Kramer achieves her first Country Digital Song Sales No. 1, among five top 10s, with the debut of her new track “Story Song.” Released Feb. 25, it sold 7,100 downloads in its first week.
The ballad follows Kramer’s “Voices,” which arrived at No. 2 last October.
Kramer, Sara Brice and Emily Shackelton wrote “Story Song” for Kramer’s children, Jolie and Jace, after her divorce from Mike Caussin last year.
The singer-songwriter has scored two top five hits on Hot Country Songs: “Why Ya Wanna” (No. 3, 2012) and “I Got the Boy” (No. 5, 2016).