"You broke my heart and drug it around my stompin' grounds/So now I need a new hometown," Mike Ryan sings of a blue-eyed girl from Tennessee who has turned his city into a place full of painful memories.
"New Hometown," which the lauded musician co-wrote with Chris DuBois and Brent Anderson, is the first single released from his upcoming third studio album. Ryan says it wasn't based on any one true story, but the lyrics certainly resonate with him every time he goes home to San Antonio.
"I broke up with a girl, my first love, shortly after I moved away from home," Ryan tells Rolling Stone Country. "Since I've come back to town and seen those places where we used to run around, the song makes a whole lot more sense. You go to places where as soon as you walk in the door, it takes you back five years ago to when you were there with her."
DuBois and Anderson, who also wrote eight songs with Ryan on his last album, Bad Reputation, are featured on a handful of other tracks on the Texas native's upcoming LP. The new project, which doesn't yet have a title or release date, is full of love songs and story songs, Ryan reports, and caters to fans of his last collection.
"It's going to be a familiar album for people who've listened to Bad Reputation, but it's definitely not going to be a carbon copy," he says. "We're adding some different flavors, but it's not going to be too far off the beaten path from what I've released."
Good strategy. Bad Reputation yielded three Number One singles on the Texas Music Chart and led to Ryan's win for New Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2015 Texas Regional Radio Awards.