It’s no question that Morgan Wallen is good buddies with fellow country singer/songwriters HARDY and ERNEST. So it makes perfect sense that when he set out to plan for his next album, One Thing At A Time, he’d find a sure way to add his friends and Big Loud labelmates into the mix.
And that’s exactly what he did.
One Thing At A Time, produced by Joey Moi, who also served as a producer for Wallen’s record-breaking sophomore project, Dangerous: The Double Album, dropped on Friday (Mar. 3) via Big Loud / Mercury / Republic Records. An impressive undertaking, the project, in total, features 36 tracks, two of which are collaborations with HARDY and ERNEST.
“In The Bible” (Featuring HARDY)
HARDY is featured at the No. 15 spot on the album on a song called “In The Bible.” The track finds HARDY laying claim on the first verse and providing the setting for a song all about feeling closest to the man upstairs when in the comfort of the country lifestyle, which includes bonfires and backgrounds, good beer, and old bar stools.
“Backroads and cold beer / Are my down-home prayer / Can’t get no closer to the Man upstairs / Than way out there, where the river runs / Lord knows I’d be one hell of a disciple / If bein’ country was in the Bible / Hallelujah, amen / Heaven blessed this life I live / Hallelujah, amen, amen,” HARDY and Wallen’s vocals unite throughout the sing-along chorus of the mid-tempo duet.
“Cowgirls” (Featuring ERNEST)
As for ERNEST, his featured song is called “Cowgirls” and takes place closer to the end of the two-hour offering. Landing at track No. 33 and sandwiched between “Had It” and “Good Girl Gone Missin’” the duet has the two artists swapping verses while singing about daisy duke wearing cowgirls that have no intention of settling down.
“Long live cowgirls / Never gonna settle on down girls / Leave you in a lonely ghost town world / Where the sun don’t rise, rodeo for one night / Love you like a mustang / One hand on thеm giddy-up reins / Hole in your heart with somе good aim / On a goodbye ride, but it’s fine ’cause it’s kinda my thing / Long live cowgirls / Yeah, long live cowgirls,” Wallen and ERNEST sing throughout the chorus of the song, alongside an intoxicating, slapping beat.
For the album, Wallen fused the musical influences that have shaped him as an artist – country, alternative, and hip-hop. And, with ERNEST’s hip-hop background, “Cowgirls” makes for a fitting duet for the two stars, as it’s one of seven cuts on the album that Wallen calls “beat songs.” The other “beat songs” on One Thing At A Time are: “Sunrise,” “180 (Lifestyle),” “Neon Star,” “Thinkin’ Bout Me,” “Last Night,” and No. 1 smash “You Proof.”
ERNEST also co-wrote “Cowgirls” (billing himself by his full name, Ernest Keith Smith) alongside Rocky Block, Ashley Gorley, James Maddocks, and Ryan Vojtesa. And, while HARDY didn’t serve as a co-writer for “In The Bible” (that track was penned by John Byron, Jeff Garrison, Jon Hall, Ben Johnson, and Geoffrey Warburton), he and ERNEST did write several songs on One Thing At A Time. ERNEST co-wrote 11 tracks while HARDY had a hand in penning 3 of the 36 cuts. Overall, the album has included 49 writers.
This Isn’t The First Time Wallen Has Collaborated With ERNEST And HARDY
This, of course, isn’t the first time Wallen has collaborated with ERNEST and HARDY. In fact, Wallen adds vocals on ERNEST’s breakthrough hit “Flower Shops” from his second studio album of the same name.
“I think it’s cool because we are all each other’s biggest supporters,” ERNEST previously shared of the trio of friends. “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.”
Wallen, meanwhile, has been featured on HARDY’s current album, the mockingbird & THE CROW on a patriotic anthem called “Red.” The longtime friends have also duetted in the past on “Goin’ Nowhere,” “He Went To Jared,” and “Turn You Down,” from HARDY’s early Hixtape projects. Additionally, HARDY has been a longtime co-writer on several of Wallen’s hit songs, appearing on Dangerous: The Double Album.
Wallen Says He, HARDY And ERNEST Share A “Special Bond” Through Music
“HARDY and ERNEST, we all have a special bond just based on music, I think. But luckily we like a lot of the same things. We know when we’re around each other. It’s a good time. We goof off. We give each other a hard time. I mean, it’s a pretty natural friendship,” Wallen told Music Mayhem, exclusively of his brotherhood he shares with his fellow country artists. “And then not to mention their talent, I’m biased for sure, but those numbers speak for themselves. They’re definitely two of the best songwriters this town and the world’s seen in a while. So for me to be able to share in that creativity and hopefully inspire them, I know they inspire me. It’s a no-brainer to include people like that. And in your work.”
“Me and HARDY, this will be like, I don’t know, three or four songs that we’ve done together already. And anytime there’s a project of work, I think we’ll have a song together. And then ERN was another no-brainer to have on here,” he continued. “He’s done a lot for me. We all do a lot for each other. And that’s just what friends do.”
HARDY And ERNEST Will Soon Hit The Road With Wallen
In addition to collaborating with HARDY and ERNEST on music, Wallen has brought his buddies on tour with him in the past.
HARDY and ERNEST will also join the “You Proof” singer on his next trek and first-ever stadium tour, dubbed the One Night At A Time World Tour. The tour officially kicks off on Wednesday, March 15, in Auckland, NZ, at the Spark Arena. The U.S. leg of the tour begins on April 14 with back-to-back nights at Milwaukee’s American Family Field.
Marking one of the largest tours of 2023 so far and the biggest tour of Wallen’s career, the 63-show trek will visit 30 stadiums, plus arenas, amphitheaters, and festivals to fans across four countries and two continents. Along with support from ERNEST and HARDY, the tour also features Bailey Zimmerman on all dates and Parker McCollum on select dates.