Welcome to Nashville, the new ABC primetime soap built on the intrigue of the country/alt country/rock scenes plus local and family politics and all the juicy character drama that develops in that environment. We’ll be covering this buzzy new show & its music (that’s right, there’ll be original music) on this blog! Check out video teasers after the jump and new music info after the jump!
Nashville stars Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, American Horror Story) and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), with a supporting cast that includes Powers Boothe (Deadwood, 24, Hatfield & McCoys), Charles Esten (Big Love, The Office, ER), Jonathan Jackson (General Hospital), Eric Close (Without A Trace), Judith Hoag (Big Love), and Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio (who are new to the US but up & comers in their respective native lands of Australia and the UK).
Britton plays Rayna James, a 40-something country hitmaking legend in the making whose most recent record has her struggling to maintain her chart status. Panettiere plays Juliette Barnes, a rising pop/country star who has taken over the charts despite questionable singing ability (Taylor Swift may come to mind but this character has an overt villainous side). The people in their orbit include family (James’s estranged father is a rich, influential man in local politics who wants her husband to run for Nashville mayor, Barnes’s mother may be the key to unlocking Barnes’s take no prisoners approach to business), band leaders, label executives, singer/songwriters, and producers.
Check out the trailer for Nashville here:
The pedigree of this show is very strong even beyond its cast. Writer and executive producer Callie Khouri is an Academy Award winner for the screenplay of Thelma & Louise. Another executive producer Steve Buchanan is the President of the Grand Ole Opry Group and President of the Board of the Country Music Assocation. Khouri brought in her husband T-Bone Burnett as the show’s music director, with a message via the Nashville Scene for people who are not country music fans and may be misled by the show’s title:
“One of the main reasons I wanted to do the show was because there’s so much more music here than just country, and people don’t know. We’re getting an opportunity to put some of that out.”
In the same article T-Bone Burnett talks about wanting original music for the show:
Nashville is the Alamo,” Burnett adds. “[It’s] the last stand of what was once an extraordinarily thriving community in the United States. For a century we’ve had this extraordinary music community spread across the country. Now it’s localized in Nashville. The idea of the show is that these people are creating this music, so we want all of the songs to be original songs that haven’t been released before.”
“I would say most of these characters are characters from the edges, and they’re making really fresh, interesting music,” Burnett says. “And we’ve got fresh, interesting writers writing for them. … There are so many great songwriters congregated here. And there’s such a bottleneck in, just, country radio that there’s a wealth of songs to draw from.”
The Nashville Scene reports that among the people he’s invited to contribute original music to the show (that will be performed by the show’s cast) are: Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello and Gillian Welch (whose names speak for themselves), as well as Sarah Buxton (Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy”), Natalie Hemby (Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar,” Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” and “Tornado”), Trent Dabbs (Matt Kearney’s “Lifeline” and “Never Be Ready”), Hillary Lindsey (tons of Carrie songs including “Jesus Take The Wheel”, “Wasted”, and “Last Name”), Kacey Musgraves (currently earning raves for her “Merry Go Round”), and the band Striking Matches.
One of the songs featured in the 1st episode is “If I Didn’t Know Better,” originally a Civil Wars song cowritten by John Paul White and Arum Rae. It will be performed on the show by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladia, who respectively play a budding songwriter ingenue and a Texas songwriter looking to break through.
Music Row reports that ABC Studios have struck a deal with Big Machine Label Group to release music from the ABC series Nashville to Itunes. Meanwhile Billboard reports that the 1st song from Nashville sent to radio will be a song called “Telescope” cowritten by Hillary Lindsey and Cary Barlowe and performed on the show by Hayden Panettiere’s character. Big Machine Label Group is headed up by the relentless Scott Borchetta and with the TV platform provided by Nashville, we could see some of these songs making an impact on the country chart. No matter what the show’ll surely be part of the conversation about the state of country music, rock music, and the music business today.
Intrigued by Nashville? Join us at 10 PM Eastern next Wednesday 10/10 for a recap/discussion of the show’s premiere episode!