ernie c ernst
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ernie c ernst

Band Folk New Age


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""Angelic pipes convey a wicked sense of humor.""

Ernie C. Ernst combines an exquisite soprano voice with achingly beautiful yet quirky songs, and is a refreshing addition to the Austin music circle. Ernst neatly sidesteps the trap of female singer-songwriter angst that too often leads to an estrogen-soaked night of gloom and despair. Instead, tales of future, current, and past loves are punctuated with her offbeat wit, and bittersweet ballads balance nicely with the occasional deliciously irreverent zinger. Hailing from Denton, Ernst possesses a vocal control that hints at her background in theatre at the University of North Texas. She can croon as tenderly as a dove but still has the raw power to blow a fuse box. -

"“The star of the show is the pure quality of her voice.”"

As a writer, I usually focus on lyrics. I’m always listening for the message of the song. But I got so caught up in Ernst’s sweet, drawling, soul-touching voice that I really didn’t catch what she was singing about. I just sat there and let it flow over me. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that it feels like coming home. Hearing that voice dance and soar kind of makes you forget all the things on your to-do list and the reasons you hate your job and the fact that you’ve got to get to bed early because blah blah blah.... it all melts away, and all you hear is a voice like country fields, tall grass waving in a spring breeze, smooth dirt road under your bare feet. This voice feels like the natural earth around you. ... the lyrics are kept as simple as the gentle acoustic instrumentation. The star of the show is the pure quality of her voice. -


A Jester's Life (ernie c ernst / Ramble Creek Records) 2002


Feeling a bit camera shy


ernie c ernst was born brandy lynn ernst on october 1, 1975. her first memories of music are of the women in her extended family harmonizing latin catholic hymns and popular songs of the day around the kitchen table. her great-grandmother could yodel. her mom is songwriter, a singer, and one hell of a fiddler. her father is a rock drummer, with a love for all genres of well-produced music. her step-dad ("pee-paw,") can play anything he picks up. really damn well. she grew up in a family that holds music very near to their hearts, and it was always playing - or being played. her parents played country music in smoky bars, vfw halls, and anywhere they could make a buck. music was everywhere when she was growing up. which, of course, meant ernie - ever so stubborn, as kids tend to be - was bound and determined to do anything BUT be a musician. she left the tiny town of lake whitney, for the only slightly larger town of denton in 1994, to pursue a degree in theatre at the university of north texas. after a few short years, it became clear that the kind of theatre ernie wanted to be involved in was either abstract, shocking, black box, experimental theatre, or - alas, musical in nature. musical theatre was definitely ernie's strong suit as an actor. hitting the notes was the easy part. it was the choreography that killed her. she struggled between a strange love for directing kroetz, and the ease of belting a second act ballad. she picked up a guitar around 1997, said "fuck it," and became a folk singer.

the music scene in denton at that time consisted mostly of eight piece funk bands with fancy music degrees. nevertheless, her first "professional" project, meshmughana - a four piece acoustic band - played outdoors, at diners, and anywhere they could. ernie soon set out solo to play local coffehouses and back patios, feeling increasingly comfortable on the stage with just a guitar.

ernie moved to austin in 2000, knowing little about the city or just how immersed in music one can be if they allow themselves the chance. since then, ernie has sustained a regular schedule of solo acoustic gigs, teaming up with the likes of walter tragert, jennifer ellen cook, gretagoo, hilary york, rice moorehead, karla manzur, doe montoya, rufus mcgovern, and many other fellow songwriters. her songs are sometimes autobiographical and bittersweet, sometimes comedic and downright filthy, and her music has been deeply influenced by this city, her folks, her friends, and - yep, you guessed it - boys.

ernie released her debut solo album, a jester's life, with producer / collaborator britton beisenherz (ramble creek studio, the astronaut suit, milton mapes) in 2002 with little fanfare and an unbelievable ignorance in the actual "business" of music. it's still a damn fine record, with beisenherz playing most of the instruments along with john scully (formerly of deadman) behind the drums, and a slew of guest appearances, including dave brittman (gallapagos,) steven collins (deadman,) chris forshage (larry, grass,) warren hood and matt sleusher (south austin jug band,) john pointer, tim gibbons, greg utay, and jess farr (the astronaut suit.)

ernie's vocals also appear on milton mapes' critically acclaimed westernaire, brian rung's late for the show, drew cowan's circus, and kyle wayne kutscher's don't want this to be goodbye, as well as appearing with saratone on who and who, a who tribute album featuring austin artists, with rufus mcgovern on a miracle foundation christmas, and on moonlight tower's upcoming release.

ernie is currently recording both her sophomore release, rabbit vs. fan, with the ever changing cast of characters known as the accusers at ramble creek studio, and a completely solo collection of demos, scratch tracks, and weird ideas in her bedroom, living room, and anywhere her dogs don't happen to be occupying.

if you ask ernie what kind of music she writes, she will shrug and say "chick rock," although she has no idea what the fuck that really means. it's probably best categorized as "folk," but she'd like to make clear that she is NOT a dirty hippie. most days.

in addition to her solo efforts, ernie also enjoys playing the side-man. she joined the diamond smugglers as a "smugglette" shortly after her arrival in austin, and still shakes her ass for the love of neil. she was the bassist / co-front woman (along with gretagoo) in sock puppet, bassist / vocalist for the after school special, and tries desperately just to keep up as the sometimes bassist / sometimes guitarist in the sexy finger champs. she is also the vocalist for denton based hip-hop project, u me and a dj.

[ ernie would also like to comment on how funny she thinks it is when people write about themselves in the third person... much like in this bio. ]