Traditional country torchbearer Jake Worthington has released his long-awaited self-titled debut album. Out now on Big Loud Records, the 13-track neo-traditional country collection features the earlier-released “State You Left Me In” and “Next New Thing," as well as a fresh collaboration with Ernest, “Pop Goes the Whiskey.”

A play on the nursery rhyme “Pop Goes the Weasel,” the honky-tonkin’, tongue-in-cheek tune spotlights two men who, while each reeling from breakups, decide to turn to a good glass of whiskey to mend their broken hearts.

“Oh and what do you know / Here I go / Back to the bottle again / Between heartache and liquor, I’m up to my eyes / And I’m looking for a tipsy / That will fix me for good this time / So it looks like it’s Pop / Goes the whiskey tonight,” goes the jubilant and well-textured chorus. Ernest co-wrote the track with Seth Ennis, Kyle Fishman and Rocky Block.

What makes this a standout on Worthington’s album is the engaging storytelling both singers deliver, which includes quips, laughter and an almost palpable camaraderie between two heartbroken country guys. Production-wise, much like the rest of Worthington’s project, it features raw twang and prominent electric and steel guitar lines that masterfully transports listeners back to the ‘80s and ‘90s eras of country.

Of his debut LP, the unabashedly rootsy country singer-songwriter says, “I don't mind being a dark horse. Blame it on my raising, but I think there ought to be room for country in country music.”

This is the second time Worthington and Ernest have shared a song together. In February, the labelmates joined on “Heartache in My 100 Proof,” a track off Ernest’s latest album, Flower Shops (The Album): Two Dozen Roses.

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