Growing up in Louisville, Ky but spending many summers in Marion County, Ky allowed singer-songwriter David Ernst to experience both the the rural and suburban nature of his home state. The people, places and stories that come alive in his songs all help to paint the picture of life, lived through heartbreak, joy, betrayal and redemption all while striving to keep the faith.
Dave’s upcoming debut solo album, Hickory Switch (due out in May 2018 on Eastwood Records), looks into the relationships and experiences that have shaped his life. The album, produced by Peter Searcy, blends traditional instruments and inspired angular electric guitar work lends itself to a familiar yet current sound. “I’ve been working on these songs for a long time and it so rewarding to hear them finally realized in the new record…I can’t wait for folks to hear them” says Dave.
Music was very much a part of Dave’s childhood…Dave’s mom sang in the gospel trio The Treble Tones in the 60’s and 70’s and his grandfather Al was the guitarist in a traveling country “orchestra”, as he called it, for over 20 years. Dave’s Mom gave him his first guitar as a teenager and he set off to learn every REM song there was. After playing in a million and one garage bands in high school, Dave was asked to join the seminal Louisville band Big Wheel (Homestead, Mammoth/Atlantic) fronted by ex-Squirrel Bait singer Peter Searcy, and he was hooked on music for life. A defining moment for the band was in 1993 when they got to open for Big Star in Columbia, MO. Searcy, Dave and Tom from Big Wheel went on to form the band Starbilly and chased the major label dream for years recording for both A&M and Atlantic Records. Their indie release on Chicago’s Buzz records did well with radio and gave them the opportunity to tour the country and play tons of radio festivals where they got to see the best and worst of 90s music up close and personal. After Starbilly faded Ernst spent time in the Richmond, KY band Swifty founded by former Two Small Bodies members.
Uncle Tupelo was on the same Midwestern touring circuit as Big Wheel and Starbilly and was a huge influence on Dave E’s post 90s writing. “I finally got to hear all my influences plus some Bluegrass/Country fused into an amazing batch of songs from Jay and Jeff,” says Ernst. The early Alt-Country scene was such an influence on so many post-grunge musicians and Ernst was no exception. “Some of my songs have been curating since way back then and I am so happy to work them out with these guys and really look forward to playing them live.”
Dave’s live partners, The Early Favorites, also share a rich set of music experiences…Bassist Frank Green spent many of these same years playing with Lava/Atlantic recording artists Outspoken from Louisville. Outspoken released their Rick Parashar produced major label debut in 2003 and then hit the road with Stone Sour, Seether, Live and others. Guitarist Dave Coultas played in the Louisville band Tuesday Sun fronted by singer/songwriter Butch Rice and toured regionally during late 90s as well. Brian Hall has lent his guitar talent to numerous bands in the southeast… and Scott Lankford (Big Wheel) recently rounded out the lineup on drums.
2018 will be a busy year for Ernst and The Early Favorites in support of the new record, Hickory Switch. Booking for regional touring and festivals for the band as well as solo performances for Dave is well underway. “We’ve been rehearsing hard and are really ready to start having some fun onstage,” says Ernst. Dave and the guys are practical about their goals, “We are all just having a blast, at the end of the day we just want to have a great time and make some music that makes us proud and has meaning to those listening”…seems like they are off to a great start.