ERNEST Stages Mayoral Campaign Reveal, Declares 'Legalize Country Music'

By Kelly Fisher

March 14, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

ERNEST addressed his fellow Nashville residents in a recorded message on Thursday (March 14), revealing that he’s running for Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. The country singer-songwriter’s video arrives days after he posted a cryptic photo reading “ERNEST for MAYOR,” and “Legalize Country Music.”

In his video, ERNEST paid tribute to some country music legends and embraced newcomers to the genre, closing the nearly minute-and-a-half speech by announcing his next full-length album. ERNEST said:

“My fellow Nashvillians, I’m addressing our community not because I want to, but because I have to. Over the years, there have been many changes to my hometown in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s important to ask ourselves: how’d we get here? We’ve had movements such as Western Swing, Outlaw, Red Dirt, even the likes of Bro Country. Heroes such as Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, George Strait (and) George Jones paved the way for artists like myself. We owe it to them to continue what they started. As our community continues to grow, we shall always remember our founding fathers and welcome our new brothers and sisters into our circle. Whether you went to college or jail, or you’re just looking for a honky tonk fairy tale, or barely hanging on, all country music fans are welcome. In order to keep leading the genre that made me, we must legalize country music. But we need someone with the authority to do so. That’s why I’m standing here today, proudly announcing that I am running for Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. As I begin my campaign, my first act will be releasing my new album on April 12. It’s called Nashville, Tennessee. In preparation for that, I’ll give you five songs which will be available everywhere tonight. My name’s Ernest Keith Smith, and I approve this message.”

One of the tracks ERNEST will release includes “I Went To College/I Went To Jail,” a collaboration with Jelly Roll that he teased with a sneak peek on Instagram last month. His next full-length project will follow FLOWER SHOPS (THE ALBUM): Two Dozen Roses, a 24-track extended edition that arrived last year. Most recently, he released “Kiss Of Death” in October 2023. Watch ERNEST's campaign video here:

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