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Country comes to Brick Street in ERNEST this week

Country singer ERNEST will perform a sold-out show at Oxford's Brick Street Bar on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Country singer ERNEST will perform a sold-out show at Oxford's Brick Street Bar on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

When country singer-songwriter ERNEST went on his first-ever headlining tour last year, he didn’t take the typical route of touring artists.

Instead, he focused on college towns.

Next week, he’s making his way to Oxford to kick off his second tour, “This Fire,” at Brick Street Bar in a sold-out show geared toward Miami University students.

“When we went around the first time, we were just getting started,” ERNEST said. “You could literally see the growth each week, so I think with this new music, going back and tapping those markets again, it’s just gonna be outrageous.”

ERNEST will perform at Brick at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. The bar holds country nights each Wednesday, a popular event for students.

Last month, ERNEST released “ERNEST & The Fellas Unplugged,” a 10-song live performance album featuring songs from his 2022 record, “FLOWER SHOPS (THE ALBUM).” The record — and its deluxe edition from 2023 — features Morgan Wallen, one of ERNEST’s frequent collaborators.

While ERNEST released his own debut album, “Locals Only,” in 2019, he’s been in the country music scene as a writer for years. From Florida Georgia Line to Wallen, he’s worked with some of the biggest names in country music today and has writing credits on songs that have topped the Billboard Country Chart, including Wallen’s “You Proof.”

ERNEST said his approach to writing differs when it’s for himself or another artist.

“In the case of Morgan specifically, I know when I’m going in and it’s time to write for Morgan, versus basically everywhere else, I’m writing for myself,” he said. “If a song works for Morgan that I’m writing by myself, it’s an accident, but if I’m writing with Morgan, it’s for Morgan.”

Occasionally, ERNEST said he’ll write a song for himself that ends up not flowing with the rest of his work, like when he’s constructing an album. In those cases, he said his connections in the industry help him shop the songs out to other artists instead.

To ERNEST, country music is one of the biggest genres in the nation.

“The reason it’s appealing to college students now, maybe always, but especially now, is it’s pop,” ERNEST said. “When I say pop, we’re talking short for popular, because country music is the number one genre right now.”

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This summer, the genre made history when three country songs in a row topped the Billboard Hot 100. Country music saw a 20% boost in listening in the first half of 2023 compared to last year, a bigger spike than all other genres except for K-Pop and Latin music.

The national enthusiasm for country music carries over to Miami students. ERNEST said his tour last year also included a stop at Brick, and he and his bandmates remember it well.

“We talk about Brick Street as being one of our most exciting ones to come back to because it was super lit last year, and it’s gonna be even more so this year,” ERNEST said. “We’re so stoked to come back.”

ERNEST said this show’s set will have “a little bit of everything,” and he’s planning to make the most of his set by playing songs that touch on a variety of moods. Two other country singers, John Morgan and Cody Lohden, will also join to open the show.

“Every night is different. You can’t ever expect energy; you’ve gotta go out and earn it,” ERNEST said. “But when a crowd turns up for you, you turn up for them, and it’s an unforgettable night.”