Ernest: ‘Nashville, Tennessee’ – Album Review

Ernest releases his brand new album, Nashville, Tennessee, out now, April 12th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the new project here.

Country is cool again, and ERNEST proves that in his new album, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. Although renowned for his multi-platinum songs such as “Son of a Sinner” (Jelly Roll), “Big, Big Plans” (Chris Lane) and “More Than My Hometown” (Morgan Wallen), among others, this marks the third studio album for the Nashville-native. ERNEST pays homage to the great city that raised him from childhood to country hitmaker. 

With a healthy 26-tracks, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE contains different sounds and themes, as well as a variety of features and covers. Overall, this album is very COUNTRY, which is especially unique for someone who has made his career off more “pop,” even “beachy” country songs.  Banjo and steel guitar are littered all over the record, more notably in songs such as “How’d We Get Here,” the somber “Ain’t As Easy,” the fast-paced “Smokin’ Gun,” and “Kiss of Death.”

Humor is another trait ERNEST prominently displays. He first exhibited his comedy on “Drunk With My Friends” on his sophomore album, Flower Shops (The Album): Two Dozen Roses, and we see it again in songs like “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” “One More Heartache,” “Honkytonk Fairytale,” and the amusing “Redneck Sh*ttt.” In One More Heartache,” the singer admits this love is causing severe emotional bruising, but he has room for one more ‘do me right then do me wrong’ situation. The lonely singer in “Honkytonk Fairytale” sits at the bar wishing his whiskey bottle had a genie inside so it can bring his ex back. “Redneck Sh*ttt” is a super catchy, hip-hop styled anthem about…well, doing redneck sh*t. 

“Doin’ redneck sh*t // It’s just how all us rednecks get // When we get around other rednecks // Out where rednecks live // Y’all, it ain’t my fault, there ain’t no asphalt // Way out here in the sticks // Just a bunch of redneck sh*t”

ERNEST brought five friends and one family member on the record. Jelly Roll features in the aforementioned “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” where the two compare their upbringings. Although they both took very different paths, they both ended up as artists on Music Row. On what might be the greatest vocal moment on the album, Lainey Wilson features on “Would If I Could.” The two lovers want to rekindle their relationship, but known deep-down it is not the best long-term decision. Newcomer, Lukas Nelson provides his vocals on one of the most country songs on the record, “Why Dallas,” where he blames the city for stealing his woman away from him. What will likely be the most popular song (mainly because of the other artists on it) “Hanging On” with Morgan Wallen is a more modern-sounding track that has the man hung up on a one-night fling with a stunner at the bar. 

“You left me hangin’ on // By a thread of them blue jeans // Baby now I’m wondering where it all went wrong // You got me hangin’ on on”

ERNEST included a cover of “Twinkle, Twinkle” with his son, Ryman, live at Fenway Park on Wallen’s One Night At A Time Tour. HARDY and ERNEST teamed up for a country cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Given his current career path, it makes sense that he chose HARDY to cover this one with, but we were shocked hearing its traditional country sound rather than HARDY’s new, hard rock vibe. He also covered another non-country song—John Mayer’s metaphoric “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room.” ERNEST recorded his own version of Cole Swindell’s “Sayin’ You Love Me,” which he originally wrote for Swindell’s Stereotype record. We wonder, out of all the songs he has wrote for other artists, why he chose this one to include on the record. Whatever the reason, we approve of his rendition! 

Love and heartache are other major themes on the album in other songs such as “Never Said I Love You,” “You Don’t Have To Die,” “Too Late,” and “Summertime Flies.” The album closes with “Bars On My Heart,” and “Dollar To Cash,” with the former being an uplifting way to reflect on all that heartbreak. The singer credits this honkytonk for getting her off his mind. In the latter, the singer goes over his will, concluding that he owes his entire life to country music. So, he decides that his final dollars will go into the jukebox to play Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Cash songs. 

“Play some Loretta // And dial up some Jones // Don’t rock the jukebox // Play old country songs // Can’t take it with me // When I’m six feet under that grass // So give my last paycheck to Paycheck // And my last dollar to Cash”

Although massive albums are the norm now, it’s impressive to have a collection of songs that are so different and unique. What’s even more extraordinary is that ERNEST co-wrote 20 of the 26 tracks. ERNEST did right with his tribute of Music City, and if cities could speak, Nashville would be proud of NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE.

Nashville, Tennessee Tracklist:

  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)

Country Swag Picks:

  1. “Redneck Sh*ttt”
  2. “I Went To College / I Went To Jail”
  3. “Small Town Goes”
  4. “One More Heartache”
  5. “Dollar To Cash”

Ernest shares his brand new album, ‘Nashville, Tennessee,’ out now on alls streaming platforms.

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Nashville, Tennessee is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.