“Islands in the Stream” is the official jam of this sultry summer. And no, you’re not seeing an Instagram from ‘ 83. The rock-me-gently, Bee Gees penned Dolly & Kenny timeless tune gets turnt up in this retro-rendition by newcomers Hailey Whitters & ERNEST. The song will be released under the album title of Countrypolitan, which is a nod to the now illustrious once-controversial country meets big city sound of Nashville made popular in the 70s and 80s musical handoff.
For me, the goodness avalanche comes about 35 seconds in when Ernest ushers in a breathy “pain” that makes my eyebrows incrementally push my headphones further back on my cranium. My “hmmm” quickly morphs into a “c’mon” and from there the “mercy yeahs” ensue throughout. It’s one of those killer vibes that you put on repeat for your shower radio to blast for the length of your wash so that you can privately do a squeaky clean slow dance without being ridiculed by anyone with a sense of rhythm or sight. Now Ernest’s first verse bout is mighty impressive but when Whitters jumps in for her Parton-part suddenly my face begins to scrunch, eyes squinting while simultaneously nodding left to right right to left signifying an unworthiness to the blessing being presented. The high sweetness of her top range is comparably reminiscent of my girl Kacey Musgraves’ stylistic vocals but Whitters offers up an accent, Iowan or otherwise, that lets you know this lady could teach you how to change a spark plug and flirtatiously hogs the remote control when the big game is on. Just like Dolly did, she makes it extra extra.
It’s literally been on repeat the whole day. My dance moves get worse with each spin but that groove never gives way. Both Whitters and Ernest are worth a deeper dive and “Islands” is a perfect place to get your feet wet.