Country singer/songwriter ERNEST will soon close out an unforgettable chapter of touring with his frequent collaborator and “best friend,” Big Loud Records labelmate Morgan Wallen.
ERNEST, whose real name is Ernest Keith Smith, served as support on select dates of Wallen’s 2022 The Dangerous Tour. The sold-out 47-date arena tour, which launched in February, will wrap up on October 8 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. And ERNEST says he couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend his time.
“It’s been a dream, just to get to go around the country with your best friends,” ERNEST recently told Entertainment Tonight in a new interview. “So, it’s unlike anything I could’ve thought up.”
Along with ERNEST, HARDY, Larry Fleet, Lainey Wilson, Kameron Marlowe, Ian Munsick, and Chase Rice served as special guests on select dates of The Dangerous Tour. As with Wallen, ERNEST shares quite a kinship with fellow Big Loud’s HARDY, as they have both worked closely with Wallen and with each other, turning their bond into an untouchable trio of sorts. Together, ERNEST and HARDY co-wrote Wallen’s chart-topping, “More Than My Hometown” with Wallen and Ryan Vojtesak, and combined the three have racked up credits on many top hits.
Speaking on the success of their penmanship, ERNEST says, “I’d say it’s a testament to the grind we’ve all put in for the last 10 years. They say it’s a 10-year town, and it is.”
What makes the buddies’ friendship even more inspiring is not only are they collaborators, but they also have a healthy level of competition between them, as all three are presently focusing on the performance side of their artistry.
“I think it’s cool because we are all each other’s biggest supporters,” The “Feet Wanna Run” singer said. “You know it’s like, in such a dog-eat-dog world, it’s cool to have guys who are competing for spots on the charts, but at the same time, rooting for those guys and writing each other’s songs, and all of that. It’s cool.”
ERNEST and HARDY recently honored Wallen at the 15th Annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Honors. Onstage, the two artists churned out Wallen’s songs, including “Sand In My Boots,” “Wasted On You,” and “More Than My Hometown.”
“HARDY and ERN, you know… I never really got to hear ’em perform like that, so that was special for me,” Wallen said as he took the microphone at the ACM Honors. “We’ve known each other a long time now, we’ve written 100 songs together, we’ve done a lot of things together and that was one of my favorite moments of all of the ones we’ve had together.”
And, while most folks are familiar with Wallen, who broke out onto the country scene with his No. 1 smash “Whiskey Glasses” in 2019, HARDY, who was recently named the 2022 ACM Songwriter of the Year, has been having a moment with songs like “wait in the truck” featuring top CMA Award nominee Lainey Wilson and hits like “SOLD OUT.”
ERNEST, who has previously written for artists like Chris Lane, Florida Georgia Line, and Sam Hunt, is the third to begin stepping foot into the spotlight outside of the pen and paper and has been making waves with his “Flower Shops” duet with Wallen. His album of the same name-dropped in early 2022, and after letting the songs breathe over the last few months, he says he is laying down the framework for another project.
“Once I put the album out. I took a break from writing, just to let the music live,” ERNEST said. “Over the last three or four months, I’ve been writing a ton. I went back into the studio and recorded a bunch of songs. There’s a plan for more music coming out by the end of the year and the top of next year. I’m always going to be cooking something up.”
As previously shared, ERNEST also got to tour with Wilson. He says if there is anyone he would wish to write for in the future it would be the “Heart Like A Truck” singer.
“That girl is awesome. I told her a couple of years ago, we should cover that ‘Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,’ but it hasn’t happened yet. But, we’ll do it,” ERNEST said of the Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty duet.
ERNEST will soon embark on his first-ever headlining tour, the Sucker For Small Towns Tour. He will bring Jake Worthington, Lauren Watkins, and Noah Hicks along for the ride as he makes stops in states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Illinois. The Sucker For Small Towns Tour will launch on October 6 at Zydeco in Birmingham, Alabama, and wrap on November 19 in Peoria, Illinois.