Hometown Heroes: Country Ties Emotional Messages to Physical Roots

When Big Loud singer-songwriter HARDY drove back to Nashville after a visit with his dad in Philadelphia, Miss., sometime in the last two years, his father told him to hit Play on the CD in the dash at a specific point in the journey.

His father had queued up Travis Meadows‘ reflective “Mississippi,” and as the track’s storyline unfolded with every-day, familial images about “the home I couldn’t wait to leave behind,” the journey away from his hometown weighed heavily on HARDY.

“I just lost it,” he says. “I completely started crying, and I started thinking about how proud I was to be from where I was from. But I don’t know why that is.”

Maybe not, but HARDY — like many of his fellow country artists and songwriters — frequently explores the topic. He cowrote Morgan Wallen‘s current “More Than My Hometown” (No. 18, Country Airplay), a song in which the protagonist chooses his surroundings over a girlfriend who’s moving away. Alternately, HARDY‘s debut album, A Rock (released Sept. 4), features “Hate Your Hometown,” in which he hopes a girlfriend will not make a similar choice.