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Story Behind the Song: Josh Turner, ‘Hometown Girl’

Josh Turner earned his fifth No. 1 single with “Hometown Girl,” the second single from his Deep South album. The song, written by Marc Beeson and Daniel Tashian, was born from recollections of a childhood crush; below, Beeson and Turner share the story behind the hit single.

Marc Beeson: Writing is kind of an interesting thing to happen. It’s different all the time. Sometimes you walk in with an idea, sometimes it happens in the room.

There was an old crush of mine from high school that just kind of popped in my mind recently, before we wrote. She was just kind of in the back of my mind; I didn’t really talk about it.

Dan is one of those guys who is a really intuitive musical guy. I walked in that day — it was just him and me — and he said, “Hey man, what do you think of this?” And he started playing this music. I thought, “That’s so cool.” And I thought, “I don’t know if this fits,” and I threw something out at him, and he goes, “That’s great.”

He kind of had a little phrasing thing, and the next thing you know, he had a hometown girl. Everyone’s got to have a hometown girl. I had [a hometown girl], and I’m not even sure she knew I existed, but to me, I thought she was the greatest thing ever, and so that’s what I was thinking about.

I think we just got descriptive. We were messing around with the chorus, and it just kind of fell out. We just kind of sat there, and [he] had some music going, and we fell into that cadence. It was just a series of pictures for me. I grew up in a little rural town in Illinois, and it was like a sea of corn, and so we got the corn in there. I was just thinking about this girl, and Daniel was, like, rolling with it.

Josh Turner: I was in [producer] Kenny Greenberg’s basement the first time I heard it. He had played it for me, and I knew from the first listen that the song was a hit. A lot of times, when I hear a song the first time, I never really know if it’s going to fit me or my voice. A lot of times, I’ll hear a song, and I may think it sounds great, and then I get to try to sing it, and something doesn’t quite click with it. And then there’s other times where, after [I hear] a song, it’s like, “I don’t even know if I like this song,” but then when I sit down and live with it for a while, it starts growing on me, and it feels really good.

“Hometown Girl,” when I first heard it — that melody, first of all, just stuck in my head; before I even knew what the words were, I was humming that melody all the way home. That’s a pretty good sign. When I started digging in[to] the lyric, I loved what it said, and I felt like it was something that my fan base could really connect with and relate to, because I feel like a lot of the female fans here recently have complained about a lot of the songs objectifying them, and this song was the exact opposite of that. It was edifying them, it was lifting them up, it was looking past their outward appearance. It went deeper than that, and so, that appealed to me.

At the time, too, during the record-making process, I was at that point [where] I was looking for some different types of songs that I probably wouldn’t have cut in the past, because I was trying to find ways to change my sound up and different ways to present my voice, and I felt like “Hometown Girl” was just the song to do that. I feel like I grew a lot, not only as an artist but as a person, as we went along this process and tried to work hand-in-hand with radio to try to get this song played.

Country’s Greatest Love Stories

NEXT: The Story Behind Josh Turner's 'Long Black Train'

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