Ernest played both guitar and mandolin. With his brothers, Frank and Cliff, and cousin Denzil Ferguson he formed the Hymn Trio in the early 1960s. It was a country gospel band which recorded on several area record labels. They recorded what was probably the first single issued on Jalyn and the second single issued by Melody. They also recorded on Ark, Harp, and Starday. Ernest did a show on WPFB in Middletown and owned a music store in Germantown. In 1970, Ernest moved to Kentucky to work as a farmer, but he eventually reformed his band and this time it became Ernest Carter and the Bluegrass Hymn Trio. In 1973, he and Zeke Hoskins did an album together.

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