ERNEST and Jelly Roll’s ‘I Went To College / I Went To Jail’ Comes To Life In Animated Video With Luke Bryan Cameo

“I Went To College / I Went To Jail” is featured on ERNEST’s just-announced sophomore album.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 15, 2024

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ERNEST, Jelly Roll, Luke Bryan; Courtesy Of YouTube

In anticipation of his just-announced sophomore albumNASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, ERNEST has unveiled another look into the massive 26-song collection with the release of five new songs including “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” featuring Jelly Roll.

What Is The New Song About?

Co-written by ERNEST with Chandler Paul Walters, Luke Bryan and Rivers Rutherford, the collaborative tune finds the pair of Nashville natives proving that they may have taken two opposing paths in life, but when it comes down to it, their experiences aren’t actually that different. 

They begin by taking turns delivering the autobiographical lyrics, each sharing where they were at the beginning of their adult lives. Ernest reveals he was spending his days in college while living in a dorm room and at the same time, Jelly Roll was incarcerated and residing in a jail cell. At the end of each chorus, they come to the same conclusion that they can’t decide “who came out on top.”

“I went to college/ And I went to jail/ One was a dorm room/ One was a cell/ Who came out on top/ Hell it’s hard to tell/ I went to college/ And I went to jail,” they sing. 

They continue by owning up to the choices they’ve both made and the consequences of their actions that ultimately led them to finding their rightful place in the world. ERNEST’s history may sound better on paper, however he admits that he “was supposed to go four years” and “quit after one” and also “burned all his books” and gave up the chance to be a doctor. Meanwhile, Jelly Roll made the best out of his situation by getting let out of his seven-year sentence three years early, staying up late to read his books and acknowledging the fact that with the way he was going, he “should’ve been dead.”

Reflecting On Their Friendship

With honesty and a bit of lightheartedness at the forefront, the slow-tempo delivery comes to a close as the singers reflect on the moment they first met all the way to the present day, where they’re looking back on their past and realizing how things have come full circle. 

“We both grew up in the six-one-five/ Both sides of the train tracks/ Had two different lives/ Both sons of sinners/ Needing set free/ We met at a party/ Over big bags of weed.”

They continue, “Well who could’ve figured/ And who could’ve known/ We’d both wind up working/ Down on music row/ With ten years hard labor/ We’ve both paid our dues/ I’m singing that country/ I’m singing them blues.”

Animated Music Video

YouTube video

The entire storyline of “I Went To College / I Went To Jail” is portrayed clearly through a brightly-colored animated music video that closely resembles the song’s main characters – ERNEST and Jelly Roll. Fans may also notice another familiar face, Luke Bryan, portraying the role of a few characters, including a prison guard and a judge, in the music video.

The end of the clip finds the country singers with bright smiles on their faces as they bring their passions to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, where they serenade the audience with their brand-new release. 

ERNEST Announces His New Album


In addition to “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” the four other tracks to drop today (March 15) as part of the album’s pre-order launch includes “Ain’t As Easy,” “How’d We Get Here,” “Ain’t Too Late,” and “Why Dallas (feat. Lukas Nelson),” which join previously released songs “Kiss Of Death” and “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” from the project. 

Through his recent album announcement via social media, ERNEST revealed that the new project titled NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE will be available on April 12. Instead of taking the usual route to sharing big news like this, the 2X CMA Triple Play Award winner went above and beyond to catch his fans’ attention with a Nashville mayoral campaign video featuring himself, as the newest candidate running for the position in office. As he stood behind the podium, ERNEST gave details of the upcoming 26-track album produced by Joey Moi, which is expected to pay homage to his hometown city, both in the name and sonically throughout the various narratives. 

More Musical Collaborations To Come

Alongside the previously released tracks and today’s unveiling of five brand-new songs that included collaborations with Jelly Roll and Lukas Nelson, the remainder of the project will feature even more joint efforts with fellow country artists including Lainey Wilson, Morgan Wallen, and HARDY. ERNEST has even tapped his two-year-old son, Ryman to lend his young vocals to a song. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE is the follow up to his 2021 debut album, FLOWER SHOPS (THE ALBUM), which featured the 2X Platinum title track “Flower Shops (feat. Morgan Wallen)” as well as FLOWER SHOPS (THE ALBUM): Two Dozen Roses, the deluxe edition featuring 13 additional tracks. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.