Illinois-based and Nashville-obsessed singer-songwriter Ashley Riley is premiering her latest track, “Leaving Nashville,” exclusively for readers of The Boot.

Despite what the song's title might make listeners think, the inspiration for “Leaving Nashville” comes from Riley’s self-described “crush” on Music City.

“I'm inspired by the songwriting community and the people, and I've always felt very welcome there," Riley tells The Boot. "I love driving around all the different neighborhoods, just exploring and going to the local coffee shops and restaurants and vintage stores."

Written in 2010 with Jessica Jolly, "Leaving Nashville" came about as the duo was leaving Nashville to play a gig in Knoxville, Tenn., and features Riley's distinctive, syrup-coated vocals paired with pensive and roots-y instrumentation.

“That is where the chorus came from, but there's definitely more to it than that. I'm from Illinois, and I generally play shows in smaller towns and rural areas, and people will say, 'Wow, you should really go on The Voice,' and things of that nature,” Riley explains. “That's always a flattering and welcome thing to hear, but you know, it's not exactly that simple. I was just laughing with Jessica the other day about how when we were on that trip to Nashville in 2010, we played a writers' round, and after our set, a very sweet lady came up to us and said, 'Wow, that was great. You should really pursue this!' It was so funny because, there we were, pursuing it.”

“Leaving Nashville” appears on Riley’s 7-song EP, Can’t Let You Go, set for release on March 3. More information about the project and the singer is available on Riley's official website.

Listen to Ashley Riley, "Leaving Nashville":

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