Ernest Releases Certified Honky Tonk Heater With Lukas Nelson, “Why Dallas”

Ernest Lukas Nelson country music
Harmony Gerber/ Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

A certified honky tonk heater.

Today, Ernest released five new songs from his forthcoming album Nashville, Tennessee, which includes a song he previously teased with Lukas Nelson called “Why Dallas,” which is easily my favorite (duh… y’all shouldn’t be surprised), a feature with Jelly Roll called “I Went To College / I Went To Jail,” in addition to “Ain’t As Easy,” “How’d We Get Here” and “Ain’t Too Late,”

“Why Dallas” was written by Ernest and Lukas along with Chandler Walters, Grady Block and Jordan Merrigan, and has a lot of  west Texas flair, full of fiddle and steel guitar, with a great melody and solid lyrics that find the narrator wondering why his girl left Nashville, Tennessee for Dallas, Texas.

It’s easy to tell the two vocalists were writers too because of the Nashville/Dallas theme, seeing as Lukas is the son of the iconic Texan himself Willie Nelson, and Ernest is a Nashville native. I love to here those influences woven into the lyrics in such a unique way:

“I’m wondering why Dallas did you take her from me,
Everything was fine out here in Nashville, Tennessee,
We went from chasing Amarillo,
Now I’m chasing memories,
I’m wondering why did you take her from me”

As a whole, it’s definitely reminiscent of 80’s George Strait in terms of the production, and I’m fascinated by the pairing of Ernest and Lukas. Ernest has made a name for himself as one of the premiere writers in Nashville, writing tons of mainstream #1 hits for people like Morgan Wallen.

Lukas, on the other hand, has been an independent artist who has certainly dabbled outside of the country genre in terms of his own music. He’s incredibly talented (he comes by it honest, obviously), and has tended to work with people outside of the mainstream up until more recently… he also has a great song with Lainey Wilson from his most recent record you should definitely check out.

All that to say, that juxtaposition of sorts certainly works on “Why Dallas,” and I honestly hope Ernest and Lukas work together more in the future because while maybe an unlikely pair in a lot of ways, they know how to write a damn country song:

He also put out “I Went To College / I Went To Jail” with Jell Roll:

“Ain’t Too Late”

“How’d We Get Here”

“Ain’t As Easy”

Today, Ernest also released the entire 26-song tracklist for Nashville, Tennessee, which features his friends and frequent collaborators Morgan Wallen and Hardy on “Hangin’ On” and “Creep,” respectively. Lainey Wilson is also included on “Would If I Could,” which is an old Dean Dillon and Donald Ewing song that she previously covered solo for an Apple Music exclusive.

Ernest has been running a “campaign” of sorts leading up to this big project announcement with the slogan “legalize country music,” and with all of the songs that have already been released, it promises to be really solid and I’m looking forward to hearing the album in its entirety.

Nashville, Tennessee is due out everywhere on April 12th.

You can check out the fill tracklist below.


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)

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock