Artist friendships have endearingly been a regular feature throughout the history of country music, exemplified by the likes of Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, along with more recent examples such as Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce.
The good news for us fans is that these close-knit relationships often translate into stellar collaborations. During Morgan Wallen's Jacksonville, Florida tour stop, he brought out his long-time buddy and collaborator, Ernest, for the live debut of their 2023 joint track, ‘Cowgirls’.
Wallen, Ernest and HARDY have one of the most widely known modern-day country friendships, with all three currently out on the road together as part of Wallen's country-hopping One Night At A Time tour.
In Jacksonville, although HARDY wasn't on the bill, Ernest ensured the crowd's energy was riding high ahead of Morgan Wallen's headlining set. Ernest usually closes his shows with his biggest hit to date, ‘Flower Shops’, before returning to the stage during Wallen's performance later in the evening for another rendition of their much-loved collaboration.
However, in Jacksonville, instead of performing ‘Flower Shops’, Ernest joined Wallen for a special live rendition of another collaboration of theirs, ‘Cowgirls’, which features on Wallen's new 36-song album, One Thing At A Time. The blockbuster record continues to reign atop the Billboard 200 chart, and has spawned a seemingly innumerable number of chart-toppers, such as ‘Thought You Should Know’ and ‘Last Night’.
The new song-choice was greeted by a sea of cheers and screams, with fans of the dynamic duo having been clamouring for them to perform ‘Cowgirls’ together ever since the track dropped in March.
It's an uptempo, beat-driven anthem that features the blending of hip hop instrumentals and country-inspired lyricism that pervades much of One Thing At A Time.
The rest of Wallen's Jacksonville set also showcased his penchant for this genre-fusing sound, with his setlist including trap-leaning tracks such as ‘Sunrise’, ‘Ain't That Some’ and ‘Thinkin’ Bout Me’.
His Jacksonville, Florida performance marked the momentous return of Morgan Wallen's 2023 tour, following a high-profile hiatus due to the Sneedville megastar having lost his voice towards the end of April. This led to him being placed on vocal rest, and being forced to cancel his Oxford, Mississippi show on April 23 at the last minute, before promptly postponing his next three shows too.
Before his Jacksonville performance, Wallen reassured fans that were worried he might still be struggling with his voice in a social media video message. During the clip, the ‘You Proof’ hitmaker admitted he wasn't 100%, but underlined that he'd been cleared to perform.
It's safe to say this was - quite literally - music to the ears of the Floridian attendees, who were treated to a high-energy, hit-filled performance from Wallen, with the first-time introduction of ‘Cowgirls’ into his setlist being one of the many highlights of a stellar evening.
For more on Morgan Wallen, see below: