Meeting a native in Nashville is rare. Music City famously attracts aspiring musicians and songwriters from far and wide, so much so that “where are you from?” is typically the first question asked upon meeting someone new. ERNEST is one of those unicorn locals, and his sophomore record is titled accordingly. Following the success of 2023’s FLOWER SHOPS (THE ALBUM): Two Dozen Roses, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE is another sprawling display of ERNEST’s quirky, friendly ambition, offering a little something for everyone across the growing spectrum of country fans. The record opens with “I Went to College / I Went to Jail,” a clever and delightful collaboration with fellow 615 native Jelly Roll. Trading verses, ERNEST covers the college half of the narrative—he studied sociology before dropping out and eventually pursuing music—while Jelly Roll laments life behind bars. “Who came out on top?” they ask playfully, and there’s no clear answer. Other highlights include the Chris Stapleton co-write “You Don’t Have to Die,” a frank and surprising glimpse at heartbreak-fueled depression, and a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” with fellow all-caps country iconoclast HARDY. There’s an equally unexpected cover of John Mayer’s 2006 Continuum standout “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” which plays well as an aching country ballad. ERNEST keeps the rest of the guest list stacked, tapping Lainey Wilson, Lukas Nelson, and more to join him on the project.

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