Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown” Strikes Emotional Chord

I was enjoying a personal music moment last week while listening to Chris Cagle’s 2001 hit “Laredo.” It’s a 13-year-old song, so if you haven’t heard it, this is the gist of it: The man is asking the town of Laredo to help him win back his girl. It’s personification at its best.

“Oh, Laredo, you’re my only hope/So get her back to the day we met/’Cause that’s as far as she needs to get/And, oh, but please don’t let her go/Oh, Laredo.”

It’s the kind of country song that makes you stop and think how good songwriters really are at their craft.

So then when I saw what Eric Church had posted on Twitter about having a surprise track coming, I was intrigued. And, indeed, this new track — “Give Me Back My Hometown” — is just that.

In Church’s case, he’s actually asking his ex for help. He’s asking her to stop being in every memory he has of his hometown. He wants it back.

“All the colors of my youth/The red, the green, the hope, the truth/Are beating me black and blue/’Cause you’re in every scene/My friends try to cheer me up, a get together at the Pizza Hut/I didn’t have the heart to tell ’em that was our place/These sleepy street lights on every sidewalk, side street/Shed a light on everything that used to be.”

He describes his ex as the girl sitting at the Friday night football games saying,”I hate this, I hate it.” He then asks her, “If you couldn’t stand living here, why’d you take it?”

It’s demanding. It’s moody. It’s rootsy. In about three and a-half minutes, my faith in the future of country music was restored.