ERNEST Taps Lainey Wilson, Morgan Wallen, HARDY & More For Sophomore Album, ‘NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE’

In addition to welcoming a slew of special guests on the project, ERNEST showcases his multifaceted talents as a singer and songwriter.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

April 12, 2024


2:51 pm

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ERNEST; Photo by Delaney Royer

ERNEST honors his hometown in his highly-anticipated sophomore album, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, available today, April 12. Among the massive collection of 26 songs are collaborations with some of country music’s most notable hitmakers who have had a profound impact on Music City, including Jelly Roll, Lukas Nelson, Morgan Wallen, Lainey Wilson, and HARDY.

“I was born and raised in Nashville,” ERNEST shared of the release. “I love this city, it’s the country music capital of the world, and this album is a positive affirmation in the name of country music. That country at its core, the songwriting and storytelling, is popular again.”

The project produced by Joey Moi kicks off with the previously released, “I Went To College/ I Went To Jail” featuring Jelly Roll. This song set the tone for the journey of authenticity, whit, and true country storytelling that takes place across the entire album. 

Wilson, Nelson & Wallen Take Part In Heart-Ache Fueled Reflections

A few tracks down, Nelson joins the ACM nominated artist on the steel guitar, fiddle-laced breakup anthem, “Why Dallas.” The pain heartache arises once again in his collaboration with Morgan Wallen, “Hangin’ On,” which depicts the lonesome feeling of being hung up on something that was meant to be just a casual fling but ended up turning into something more. 

Lainey Wilson lends her signature vocals to the candid tale between two ex-lovers who ponder the idea of getting back together in “Would If I Could.” The effortless set of harmonies throughout this song elevate the narrative which provides an inside perspective into one’s internal struggle of whether or not to go back to a relationship knowing that their heart could get broken all over again. 


ERNEST’s Two-Year-Old Son Delivers Adorable Rendition Of “Twinkle Twinkle”

After the string of aching deliveries, ERNEST introduces a more lighthearted note into the collection with his live recording of the lullaby “Twinkle Twinkle.” During this performance, he welcomed his son Ryman Saint to the stage to help him deliver the tune. The crowd began singing along with the young boy’s innocent voice, and offered a round of cheers and applause after he successfully completed the well-known verse. 

The last collaborative track to appear on the project is “Creep,” an explicit, slow-tempo tune featuring ERNEST’s friend and tourmate, HARDY. The pair of artists come together for a unique and raw offering of self-reflection.

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Interlaced with these star-studded recordings are countrified anthems that showcase ERNEST’s diverse abilities as a singer/songwriter and signal his strong desire to celebrate the deep-rooted traditions within the genre. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE is the follow-up to the 2X CMA Triple Play Award winner’s 2021 debut album, FLOWER SHOPS (THE ALBUM), which spawned the 2X Platinum title track “Flower Shops (feat. Morgan Wallen).”

In support of the new project, ERNEST will make his national TV performance debut on Live With Kelly and Mark on Tuesday, April 16, followed by appearances on The Kelly Clarkson Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live! later this month.

ERNEST; Photo by Delaney Royer
ERNEST; Photo by Delaney Royer


  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, Skip Ewing)
  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

ERNEST has a long list of festival appearances scheduled throughout the year, including Two Step Inn, Stagecoach, Faster Horses and more. In between those performances, he will join Brooks & Dunn on their Reboot 2024 Tour beginning in May. 

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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.