Hit singer/songwriter ERNEST and rising country star Hailey Whitters will honor the history of country music duets records with their new EP, COUNTRYPOLITAN.
The 7-track collaboration was produced by Jake Gear and includes six tracks written by ERNEST and Whitters. The project was inspired by the pair’s love for classic duets including Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, Tammy Wynette and George Jones and Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty.
“The idea for this project came about one day as I was going down the rabbit hole listening to old country duets,” Whitters says. “It seemed like back in the day everyone used to release collaboration records: Dolly and Kenny, Loretta and Conway, Tammy and George…. you don’t really see full length records like that anymore and I was thinking it would be fun to do a project like that in today’s modern era. I sat on the idea waiting for the right partner and the first day Ern and I wrote it just felt like a natural fit.”
“I didn’t know it at the time, but Countrypolitan means the Nashville sound,” ERNEST adds. “This is such a cool side project because I love old school music. It was fun to write with that in mind, but still with a fresh perspective. The production on this project is awesome, and the band was great. There are real strings, real fiddles. It feels like it all came together in the blink of an eye.”
Their first single from the project, a cover of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands In The Stream” has been released, accompanied by an official music video directed by Harper Smith. The remaining tracks on COUNTRYPOLITAN will be released on September 17 via Big Loud Records/Songs & Daughters/Pigasus Records.
“When we were hashing through song ideas for this project, we knew we wanted to for sure do a cover. Ern brought up the idea of ‘Islands in the Stream’ and of course me, being a huge Dolly fan, was all about it,” shares Whitters. “Jacob Durrett laid the foundation for the reimagination of this song and I think he brilliantly found a way to reinvent the song in a way that can appeal to a newer, younger audience of country music listeners while still maintaining the integrity and feel of the original version. In both the visual and sound of this song, we wanted it to be bright and happy while continuing to spread a message and feeling of love and unity. I hope when listeners hear this song they can feel that.”
“I had mentioned an ‘Islands In The Stream’ cover because of the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton comparisons we both get,” explains ERNEST. “I wish Kenny Rogers were still alive so I could shake his hand, and I hope he would approve.”
Following the release of her breakthrough deluxe album “LIVING THE DREAM,” Whitters has had a successful year. She was nominated for her first CMT Music Award (“Video of the Year” for “Fillin’ My Cup” feat. Little Big Town) and secured the honor of being named the inaugural Opry NextStage artist of 2021. This fall, Whitters will be supporting Midland on their national The Last Resort Tour.
ERNEST has made quite the name for himself, as he earned his fourth No.1 hit as a songwriter for Sam Hunt’s “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s,” is currently nominated for Breakthrough Artist-Writer of the Year at the 2021 MusicRow Awards and will be joining Chris Lane as direct support this winter on the FILL THEM BOOTS TOUR.
01) Islands In The Stream
02) Say Anything
03) String Me Along
04) One Less Whiskey
05) White Limousine
06) Every Piece Of Me
07) Neon Silver & Jukebox Gold