Ernest put out the album “Flower Shops” just last week, and it’s already a household name over here. He’s got a light, gentle voice and plenty of writing credentials; he used to write for Morgan Wallen, Jake Owen, and Florida Georgia Line, among others. But, now he’s writing for himself, and his new album proves that he’s got the skills.
Recently, Ernest spoke to CMT about “Flower Shops” and what it means for his identity as a songwriter and performer. He spoke about how he strategically ordered his songs to tell a story of a love almost lost, and the consequences of hard-drinking on a vulnerable situation.
“I put them in order on purpose because it does tell the story of a good love that was almost gone for good,” he said. In ‘If You Were Whiskey,’ it talks about the alcohol relationship and how destructive it could be to a good thing…I don’t think that people touch on that often because we have a drinking culture in country music.”
As for his identity as a songwriter, introducing his work a purely his own, Ernest said, “I have been able to just dig deep and shamelessly kind of tell my story through songs. Not that people don’t do that, because that is what songwriting and storytelling is,” he clarified. “It’s just for me personally – I haven’t found a bunch of guys being able to sing such introspectively. It is a pretty introspective album beyond just the first three songs being love songs. There’s struggle and pain in any love story. I feel like that side doesn’t get told often…I’m shamelessly putting myself out there and telling mine.”
How ‘Flower Shops’ Brings Awareness to How Alcohol Affects Relationships
The album “Flower Shops” paints a picture of a roller-coaster relationship, and a love on the brink of loss. The end of the album leaves the door open for interpretation, as Ernest says, and there’s some hope there. But the song “Flower Shops,” which features Ernest’s contemporary Morgan Wallen, tells the story at its lowest and most desperate. It’s no mistake that it’s smack dab in the middle of the album.
The beginning tells us that there’s something wrong in this relationship Ernest is singing about. “This bender’s been bending / it’s hell-bound to break” is a crucial line right at the beginning, and it only gets worse from there. “Well, I took some pills, and she took the dogs / Aw, it’s all gone to hell, she’s gone to her mom’s / And I took up drinking since she took the time / To tell me I took the best years of her life,” sings Morgan Wallen in the second verse. Drugs and drinking are causing this relationship to implode, and Ernest is bringing awareness to this fact.
Throughout the album, he makes references to this, the culture in country music to just drink and drink. But, anything in excess can eventually cause problems, and Ernest has made it clear that this is one of those times. Does this main character get better by the end of the album? Can they rescue the relationship? It’s best to listen to “Flower Shops (The Album)” to find out.