ERNEST Launches Comical Mayoral Campaign To Announce His New Album, ‘NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE’

See the 26-song track list featuring collabs with Jelly Roll, Morgan Wallen, Lainey Wilson, and more.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 15, 2024

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ERNEST; Photos via Instagram

ERNEST announces his sophomore album, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEEwith a comical mayoral campaign, promising to “legalize country music.”

For nearly a week, the hitmaker has been dropping hints that he was gearing up to drop some big news that would impact the city of Nashville. The first video of the campaign series was brief, as it simply included a look behind the scenes of his election setup. ERNEST was seen pacing around the room on a phone call while donning a suit jacket, a white dress shirt, a bright red tie and blue underwear to round out his patriotic look.

ERNEST Shares His Pitch With The Nashville Community

He followed this up with an AI-generated video to go along with his motivating pitch, in which he relayed to the people of Music City why he should be elected as their next mayor. 

“Nashville, the home of country music, families, bachelorette parties and me, ERNEST. I love this town more than anything and that’s why imp running for “MayERN,” he declared. “Country music’s deep and vast repertoire is expanding and becoming more beautiful every day, but those at the top don’t want you to hear it. So this April, I’m asking for your support as we fight to legalize country music. Together we can all win.”

Not only did he offer a powerful statement and foolproof slogan, but he also brought in a few of his well-known friends including Koe Wetzel, Caleb Pressley, “THE” bald eagle, Dodgers teammates Freddie Freeman & Mookie Betts, and even “dad,” John Daly, to endorse his mission.

New Album Coming April 12

On Friday (March 15), the “Flower Shops” singer rounded out his well-executed campaign with a powerful speech, once again addressing his fellow “Nashvillians” about the ever-changing sound of country music and the legends who acted as trailblazers to each of the different eras.  

“We’ve had movements such as western swing, outlaw, red dirt, even the likes of bro-country. Heroes such as Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, George Strait, George Jones paved the way for artists like myself. We owe it to them to continue what they started. As our community continues to grow, we will always remember our founding fathers and welcome our new brothers and sisters into our circle.”

After dropping hints about the track list for his new project, he continued, “In order to keep growing the genre that made me, we must legalize country music, but we need someone with the authority to do so. That’s why I’m standing here today, proudly announcing that I am running for mayor of Nashville, TN.”

ERNEST then revealed that his first act as mayor is to release his new album, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, on April 12. This highly-anticipated project will feature 26 songs produced by Joey Moi, that will collectively to pay homage to his hometown city, both in the name and sonically throughout the various narratives that he will deliver. 

In anticipation of the full-length collection, ERNEST revealed that he would offer a taste of what’s to come through a five-song drop that includes “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” featuring Jelly Roll, “Ain’t As Easy,” “How’d We Get Here,” “Ain’t Too Late,” and “Why Dallas (feat. Lukas Nelson).” These join his previously released songs that are set to appear on the project – “Kiss Of Death” and “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room.”

Listen To “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” Featuring Jelly Roll

YouTube video

Alongside the collaborations included on today’s five-song drop 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. 



  1. “I Went To College / I Went To Jail (feat. Jelly Roll)” (Ernest Keith Smith, Chandler Paul Walters, Rivers Rutherford, Luke Bryan)
  2. “Ain’t As Easy” (Ernest Keith Smith, Dean Dillon, Jessie Jo Dillon, Chandler Paul Walters)
  3. “Why Dallas (feat. Lukas Nelson)” (Ernest Keith Smith, Chandler Paul Walters, Grady Block, Jordan Merrigan, Lukas Nelson)
  4. “One More Heartache” (Ernest Keith Smith, Chandler Paul Walters, Jessie Jo Dillon, Dean Dillon)
  5. “Hangin’ On (feat. Morgan Wallen)” (Ernest Keith Smith, Grady Block, Rhys Rutherford, Jacob Durrett, Rafe Tenpenny)
  6. “Did It For The Story” (Ernest Keith Smith, John Byron, Ryan Vojtesak, Blake Pendergrass)
  7. “How’d We Get Here” (Ernest Keith Smith)
  8. “Never Said I Love You” (Ernest Keith Smith, Chandler Paul Walters)
  9. “Would If I Could (feat. Lainey Wilson)” (Dean Dillon, Donald Ewing II)
  10. “Honkytonk Fairytale” (Ernest Keith Smith, Rafe Tenpenny, Dallas Wilson, Brad Clawson)
  11. “Smokin’ Gun” (Ernest Keith Smith, Rhys Rutherford, Grady Block, Ryan Vojtesak, Blake Pendergrass)
  12. Twinkle Twinkle (Live At Fenway Park) [feat. Ryman Saint]” (Jane Taylor)
  13. “Life Goes On” (Ernest Keith Smith, Ashley Gorley, Ryan Vojtesak)
  14. “If You Don’t Know By Now” (Clint Daniels, Dale Dodson)
  15. “You Don’t Have To Die” (Clint Ingersoll, Chris Stapleton)
  16. “Redneck Sh*ttt” (Ernest Keith Smith, Mark Holman, Nicolle Galyon)
  17. “Small Town Goes” (Ernest Keith Smith, Grady Block, Cody Lohden, Ryan Vojtesak, Chandler Paul Walters)
  18. “Kiss Of Death” (Ernest Keith Smith, Andy Albert, Ryan Vojtesak)
  19. “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” (John Clayton Mayer)
  20. “Ain’t Too Late” (Ernest Keith Smith, Grady Block, Chandler Paul Walters, Jordan Merrigan, Cody Lohden)
  21. “Sayin’ You Love Me” (Ernest Keith Smith, Mark Holman, James McNair)
  22. “Summertime Flies” (Ernest Keith Smith, Rafe Tenpenny, Grady Block, Jacob Durrett, Ross Portaro)
  23. “Ain’t Right Ain’t Wrong” (Ernest Keith Smith, Rhys Rutherford, Ryan Vojtesak)
  24. “Creep (feat. HARDY)” (Colin Greenwood, Jonathan Greenwood, Albert Hammond, Michael Hazlewood, Edward O’Brien, Philip Selway, Thomas Yorke)
  25. “Bars On My Heart” (Ernest Keith Smith, Mark Holman, Nicolle Galyon)
  26. “Dollar To Cash” (Ernest Keith Smith, Grady Block, Rafe Tenpenny, Brett Tyler)

All songs produced by Joey Moi

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. 

Fans can catch ERNEST on the road throughout the year as he’s scheduled to take the stage at several festivals as well as serving as support for major country acts like Morgan Wallen and Brooks & Dunn.

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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.