Welcome back to Nashville, where Scarlett is telling Deacon about the coffee she’s made, only to find that Attorney Megan’s had herself a little sleepover with Deacon. Scarlett is amused and pleased, and tells Deacon she’s off to do media training. Deacon apologizes to Megan, saying he was sure Scarlett was going to be staying at her friend Zoe’s. Megan tells him she isn’t having second thoughts about their night together, and Deacon says he isn’t either. But Megan also has a busy day ahead, so she needs to get going. Deacon ruefully jokes that he’s got a busy day ahead…reading the instruction manual for his new deep fryer.
Meanwhile at Casa James/Conrad, Rayna is working with her vocal therapist and still not feeling right. Her therapist tells her the tightness she’s feeling is largely anxiety, and takes her through more exercises.
Juliette is having a press conference for her revamped Inside The Dream tour, sponsored by Neutrogena and telling the press how excited she is to bring her new album to her fans. Blair Garner (a real radio personality and cohost of WNSH’s America’s Morning Show for Cumulus) congratulates her on winning CMA Female Vocalist Of The Year and asks if she’s nervous about backing that up. Juliette smiles and gives a pat answer about living in the moment and appreciating what she has, even though she does have a few gems in her crown she’d love to add. Suzanne Alexander of GAC asks if that includes somebody special to share her success with. Oh but Suzanne, I have a million “special someones” says Juliette, with the perfect syrupy media-savvy shoutout to her fans. A third journalist asks if Rayna pulled out of the tour because of her voice is ruined, and once again, Juliette smiles and tells the reporter he should know better than to spread false rumors, repeating that Rayna is taking time off to spend with her daughters, and Juliette is totally supportive of that. Juliette closes with a joke-that’s-not-a-joke about how she’s totally supportive because it means she gets to headline on her own again.
At the Edgehill Republic offices, Scarlett is in with Brent and a PR person, who congratulates her on her gorgeous publicity stills and tells her they are going to make sure she sounds as good as she looks at megastar Luke Wheeler’s upcoming benefit. Scarlett isn’t performing, but Brent says Edgehill is having all of its up-&-coming acts walk the press line at the benefit. PR Woman says they’ll start off with an easy question-when Scarlett knew she wanted to sing. Scarlett stumbles through an answer about not really ever having that revelation moment, just enjoying singing and then having this opportunity fall into her lap. This will not do, the PR flack tells her. The PR flack coaches her to lose the stammering folksiness for the cameras and also says they need to work on her story so people don’t resent her success. Scarlett says she doesn’t want to lie to people, and the PR flack assures her they’ll take facts from her real life to “craft a compelling narrative.”
Juliette is now at rehearsals at HER tour on HER stage, excitedly discussing HER encore with Manager Glenn when Layla Grant skips in, wiping the smile off Juliette’s face. Layla talks about the label shooting a behind the scenes video about Layla’s 1st big tour (which Juliette reminds her is her little spot on Juliette’s big tour) and asks Juliette if she could do an interview about why she wanted Layla on the tour. Juliette says she can’t now but to have Layla’s people set up something with Manager Glenn. An amused Manager Glenn tells Juliette she has some time later this week, and an annoyed Juliette asks if it’s too late to dump Layla from the tour. Manager Glenn laughs and says it’s way too late. Juliette says she’s just going to have to find a way to limit Layla’s time on HER stage.
Rayna is meeting with Manager Bucky and finds out that Scarlett’s media training didn’t go great. Bucky goes on to say he has good news & bad news. Rayna wants the good news first. The good news is that Steve Buchanan (President of the Grand Ole Opry Group & co-Executive Producer of Nashville) and Pete Fisher (General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry) want Rayna to invite Juliette to join the Opry the following day at Luke Wheeler’s benefit concert. Rayna is surprised and obviously doesn’t quite approve. So what’s the bad news? Jeff Fordham is demanding the masters for the album Rayna was working on because he’s convinced Rayna will never sing again. Rayna says the album isn’t done yet and Liam is in Europe. Manager Bucky tells her the label owns those masters so unless Rayna can buy herself out of her deal, he’s within his rights to release “Rayna James’s ‘last’ album” while the memory of Rayna’s accident is still fresh in the minds of fans. Rayna tells Manager Bucky it’s time Jeff met the Wyatt side of Rayna James.
Back at Edgehill Republic offices, staff is hanging up a giant poster of Luke
not Bryan but Wheeler as Luke and Jeff walk by. The 2 banter about the poster. Luke tells Jeff his old label was content to just release his albums and send him out on tour. Jeff flatters him with reminders that his albums are multi-platinum and he play stadiums. Luke says he’s glad to be with a label who understands this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As Luke and Jeff pass by and out of earshot, Layla tells Will it’s just a matter of time before he’s an even bigger star than Luke. Will smiles and says he’s not the one who snagged an opening spot on a big arena tour. He asks if it’s true Juliette really invited Layla over to her house to ask her personally. Layla smiles and says she would’ve thought if anybody would’ve been asked, it would’ve been Will. Just then, Scarlett walks up and Will scoops her up with a big hug and says she’s the prettiest singer in all of Nashville as Layla pouts. Scarlett says she just got her brain re-arranged, and Brent (who walked her out) tells her not to worry. Scarlett gives Layla a hug too. Will’s up next for his media training, but excuses himself to apologize to Jeff about losing “What If I Was Willing.” Jeff says that the more mistakes he makes, the longer he’ll remain a rookie. Will accepts that politely as Jeff walks away. Brent says he’ll handle Jeff, and Will says he doesn’t need Brent’s help. Meanwhile Layla says she didn’t realize Scarlett and Will were so close. Scarlett shrugs and says they’re friends.
Tandy and her lawyer are ironing out her immunity deal with a federal prosecutor. Part of her deal for full immunity involves a full gag order that bars her from sharing anything about her father’s possible criminal activity (including his possible involvement with her mother’s death) with anybody other than the feds, including her sister. The federal prosecutor says it’s to prevent Lamar Wyatt from fleeing. Tandy protests the gag order but in the end signs the deal to save her skin.
Meanwhile Rayna has gone to visit Lamar to ask for his help in buying her out of her Edgehill Republic contract. It’ll take $20 million. Lamar is surprised Rayna is asking for help but tells her he’ll have the paperwork drawn up.
Over at the Bluebird, Avery and Gunnar now appear to be buddies, and are performing “Be My Girl,” a jaunty little acoustic pop tune. They’re pretty happy with how it sounds, but Avery wants to add a female voice. He’s heard Zoe sing in church, and wants her in on the song. Gunnar hems and haws based on how much she knows about him and probably about Avery. Avery says that’s just how chicks are and doesn’t seem bothered. Gunnar agrees.
Deacon is at a guitar shop whose owner has spent years begging him to invest and become a partner. Deacon is finally considering it. He takes the initiative to help a customer looking for suggestions. The customer recognizes him as Deacon Clayburne, the guitar player. Deacon says he used to be.
Juliette has dropped by Edgehill for a meeting with Jeff, who wants to know what he can do for her. Juliette is mock offended that Jeff assumes this is about what he can do for her. She reminds him she’s taking his “little contest runner up” on tour with her, which he says is arguably doing more for Juliette. Juliette tells Jeff that “between me and [pause] Mini-Me” (LOLZ) the tour is rather estrogen-heavy and she’s thinking a big male hat act to get the audience all “hot & bothered” would be a good addition to the tour. Jeff says that’s actually a good idea. Manager Glenn says they are looking at acts on other labels, and Juliette adds that if Jeff could find it in his heart to put a little more money behind her album promotion, she would find it in her heart to put an Edgehill Republic act at the top of her list. Jeff snarks that there is something in this for her after all. Juliette says her tour is selling out everywhere which means a lot of exposure for whomever the secondary opener is – it’s up to Jeff whether that exposure goes to an Edgehill act. As they leave the meeting, Manager Glenn says Juliette probably should stop poking the bear and that Jeff signed Luke Wheeler because he couldn’t control his top 2 acts. Interesting! Juliette jokes to Manager Glenn that the only thing she just heard was “top 2 acts,” and assures him everything will be fine. Manager Glenn says they still have to get the band together, and asks if she wants to bring Avery in. Juliette says no.
Lamar and Teddy have a meeting in which Lamar proposes they bury the hatchet for the sake of the family. But Lamar is also there to offer Wyatt Industries as a corporate sponsor for the upcoming city music & arts festival he has planned. Teddy says this is just Lamar looking for a back door back into city business, and asks if Lamar’s bottom line has taken a hit or something. Lamar brushes it off saying Wyatt Industries has contracts with all the major cities in the country except for Nashville, and that one exception is because of Teddy turning on him after a campaign Lamar helped finance. Teddy tells him he promised after being sworn in to clean up city business, and everybody knows Wyatt Industries is dirty. Lamar says Teddy will regret this, and Teddy says he doesn’t think he will.
Will is hanging around at the venue for Luke Wheeler’s fundraiser when Jeff approaches him and says Luke has given Will a performance slot at the fundraiser. It’s an unofficial audition for an opening slot on Juliette’s tour. Will is very grateful, and Jeff tells him to thank Brent.
Rayna and Tandy are catching up at Casa James. Rayna tells Tandy that agreeing to invite Juliette to the Opry is the right thing to do, and it may score her some brownie points with Maddie (whom Tandy comments seems to be doing better). Rayna also tells Tandy she’s buying herself out of her record deal. Tandy is curious where she got the capital, and squirms when Rayna says it’s from their father. But she doesn’t warn Rayna thanks to her gag order.
Scarlett and Layla are in make-up before the Luke Wheeler benefit, and Scarlett is going over index card notes about what she’s supposed to say in the press line tonight. She apparently went to Ole Miss, and she is expected to say she got a job at the Bluebird so she could watch songwriters hone their craft. Layla asks if any of that stuff is true. Scarlett says, sort of. Layla says the press stuff is scary at first, and Scarlett notices Layla doesn’t seem scared. Layla says she’s competed in pageants since she was 6 and there’s always been a Q&A section. Scarlett asks if she’s always wanted to be a singer. Layla says she has, and that’s why she deferred Harvard (another smart girl on the show, very nice!). Scarlett asks if Layla resents Scarlett for stumbling into a record deal. Layla says she’s heard Scarlett sing and knows she writes beautiful songs. She goes on to say the girl who won American Hitmakers tried out for the show on a dare and the fans didn’t care because she was talented. Layla asks to see Scarlett’s notes and tears them up, advising Scarlett not to worry what the publicist said and to just be herself. So…..is she being sincere or is she setting up Scarlett for a fall?
Zoe has arrived at Gunnar’s for their session, and Gunnar is all awkward about Zoe being there and whether Scarlett knows. Zoe tells him she didn’t mention anything to Scarlett and that Gunnar doesn’t need to worry about Zoe judging him. Avery arrives.
Juliette goes to see Deacon, who is happy to see her. Deacon thanks her for the doctor with whom she set him up. Juliette invites him back on the road with her, but Deacon says he’s not at the point where he can play. She offers to create a position for him where he doesn’t have to play, but Deacon says he’s stepping away because it hurts too much not to be able to play. Juliette shakes her head and said it’s a shame, the accident ruined 2 great careers. But of course Deacon was unaware about Rayna’s troubles. Juliette tells him she doesn’t know anything for sure but Rayna’s been passing on every opportunity she’s had to sing.
Will is rehearsing “Tears So Strong” while Juliette looks on from the side stage. She’s impressed. Luke Wheeler gives Will a pat on the back and says he reminds him of himself when he was younger. Juliette introduces herself and thanks Luke for including her in the benefit. Luke is a little less than warm, saying it’s a benefit and she’s a big name. After he’s walked away, Juliette congratulates Will on getting christened as the next Luke Wheeler, and invites him out on the road with her. Will is ecstatic, and Jeff congratulates him. Brent is also there to congratulate him, and Will thanks him, telling him he did need Brent’s help after all. Brent tells Will he believes in him, and they have a moment, interrupted by the whole “in the closet” thing.
To DOWNLOAD “Tears So Strong,” written by Jim Lauderdale and performed by Chris Carmack, click HERE.
Gunnar, Avery, and Zoe are jamming away on “Be My Girl.” Avery seems to notice sparks between Gunnar and Zoe.
“Be My Girl,” cowritten by Jacob Bryant, Jon Davidson, and Derrick Southerland and performed by Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, and Chaley Rose. It’s not yet available to buy on Itunes!
We’re now at Luke Wheeler’s “Youthful Noise” benefit for the W.O. Smith School Of Music (which is a real school that makes music education available to children from low-income families). Luke Wheeler is taking pictures. Layla has a snappy answer ready when Lon Helton asks her how she’s preparing for her 1st big arena tour. Jeff introduces Scarlett as the 1st act signed to Rayna James’s label to reporter Jamie, and Jamie asks if she grew up singing Rayna’s songs. Scarlett says she was too shy but did meet Rayna once thanks to her uncle. Who’s her uncle, Jamie asks. When Scarlett tells him, Jamie asks if she knows why Deacon was drinking the night of the accident, which is a question I can’t imagine a Music Row reporter ever asking. Scarlett stumbles through an answer as Jeff is angered and Will & Layla watch the trainwreck with concern (and maybe interest in Layla’s case). Jeff pulls Scarlett aside and says that either she controls the interview or she looks foolish (which makes him look foolish). Scarlett says she’ll just attend the show and not talk to anybody, which Jeff says will be worse because the gatekeepers in attendance may find that to be aloof of her. When Scarlett tells Jeff, softly, that she really just wants to be herself, Jeff sends her home. Will is now very concerned about Scarlett.
Rayna is getting ready to head down to Luke Wheeler’s benefit when Deacon walks in, wanting to know what’s going on with Rayna’s voice. He offers to leave if the girls are there, but they aren’t. Rayna says she doesn’t know what’s going to come out of her mouth when she opens it, and asks how Deacon’s hand is doing. He says he won’t be anybody’s guitarist anytime soon. With tears in her eyes, Rayna says he doesn’t need to have a guitar in his hand to be in music, that he may need to take a minute to figure out who he is, but he needs to not give up on music. He wants her to take that same message to heart.
Will finishes his song at Luke Wheeler’s benefit and gets a great response from the crowd. Luke thanks him, and Juliette congratulates him again. Layla comes over to give him a hug, and Juliette snarks that since they’re already friends, it won’t hurt Layla that she has to cut 15 minutes from her set to make room for Will. After Juliette walks off, Layla jokes to Will about Juliette enjoying that a little too much. Will lays into Layla about messing with Scarlett.
Back at home, Deacon is trying to play the piano. Scarlett walks in ranting about her awful night. She notices he has been playing her piano, and wants him to continue.
Gunnar and Zoe are hanging out after their jam session. Zoe loves the song that Gunnar wrote, and wants to know when he wrote it. He’s incredibly awkward about it, and we find out why when he admits to Zoe he wrote it after the stockholders showcase – about Zoe. They make out, they strip, they make love. This is totally going to improve the awkwardness Gunnar’s feeling!
Juliette has just finished singing at Luke Wheeler’s benefit. Luke thanks her and stops her from leaving because there’s somebody who wants to talk to her. Rayna walks out to a standing ovation, and thanks Luke for letting her “crash his party” – HA! Luke Wheeler’s speaking habits and movements are totally patterned after Luke Bryan’s by the way. If he thrusts his hips when he performs, then he’s TOTALLY Luke Bryan! Juliette has no idea what Rayna is doing there. Rayna talks about how she’s gotten to spend some time with Juliette lately, written a song with her, and how she’s starting to feel like family. Which is nonsense but it’s a segue into inviting Juliette to become a part of another family – the Opry’s. Juliette is stunned speechless, and she stumbles out some words of thanks fo the chance to join “such hallowed company.” Offstage, Juliette hugs Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher, and Steve Buchanan tells her they look forward to seeing her on the Opry stage (by accepting Opry membership, members commit to around 10 Opry shows a year – some members like Carrie Underwood have taken this commitment very seriously. Others, like Blake Shelton, have not – he’s only performed 2 shows at the Opry in the last 2 years). Juliette promises that when she’s off the tour, they will have to yank her off the stage with a big hook.
Luke Wheeler doesn’t let Rayna leave, and has the crowd applaud for her in appreciation of her recovery from her accident. Luke talks about how much they’ve missed her voice and asks Rayna to sing a little something for them tonight. Rayna tries to beg off for lack of rehearsal, but Luke’s not having it. They launch into “The Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts,” and lo and behold, Rayna’s voice comes to her. She tears up and gets some help from Luke and from the crowd, but there’s no denying it, her voice is back. Jeff grimaces a little, and Juliette is a little stunned, but most everybody in the crowd (including Manager Glenn, who’s singing along) is thrilled.
To DOWNLOAD “The Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts,” cowritten by Bonnie Bishop and Ronnie Rogers and performed by Connie Britton, click HERE.
BONUS: Check out cowriter Bonnie Bishop’s video for her version of “The Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts”:
Meanwhile, Lamar and Henchman Albert walk into a restaurant with a bar…no, this is not a joke. They spot Teddy at a table drinking, and are thinking about leaving when Albert spots footage of Rayna singing at the night’s benefit playing on the bar TV. Lamar walks up to the bar and orders 2 scotches neat to toast his daughter. He is excited to be a part of her next chapter. But it’s just at that moment police walk up to arrest Lamar for racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, and extortion. Lamar eyes Teddy as he’s leaving. From the look on Teddy’s face, it almost seems as if he also knew this was coming? Meanwhile, Rayna finishes up her song to a rousing standing ovation.
After the show, Jeff and Brent tell Will he is trending because Layla tweeted out a photo of him with her on the red carpet. Jeff encourages Will to showmance Layla for PR purposes. Will agrees though he’s obviously not thrilled about it.
Juliette is all excited backstage at Luke’s benefit and asks Glenn if he knew. Of course he did! She also wants to know if he knew about Rayna being able to sing because though Juliette’s happy for her, it totally overshadowed her moment. Glenn says it wasn’t on purpose, and Juliette knows. Meanwhile Rayna’s finishing up chatting with some folks in the crowd when Luke strolls up and thanks her for singing. She says it was a great event, and asks if his kids like music. He says it’s their 2nd favorite thing after getting his goat. He also tells her he wasn’t thrilled about the night being hijacked by some “flash in the pan” getting invited to join the Opry (which of course Juliette and Manager Glenn overhear) but he’s over it since it led to Rayna singing. Rayna thanks him again, and asks Jeff if he has a minute. Jeff congratulates Rayna on her performance tonight, and Rayna tells him he can now stop spreading rumors about her voice. Jeff tells her he wants her back in studio immediately, he’s anxious to market a comeback album. Rayna says she’s not doing a comeback album. Jeff says they’re a team, he’ll handle the marketing, she can do the singing, and the album will go multi-platinum. Rayna says they’re not a team and she’s going to do what she wants. She brings up what happened with Scarlett, and Jeff says he did Scarlett a favor because she was embarrassing herself and Rayna. He reminds Rayna that the album belongs to Edgehill, and Rayna says she’s just done with him, he’ll get buyout paperwork in a week. Jeff doesn’t seem worried.
Manager Bucky approaches and tells Rayna she can’t go out through a regular exit with the press waiting. Rayna says she can handle the press and after all, it’s been a pretty good night. That’s when Manager Bucky tells her about Lamar’s arrest.
Deacon and Scarlett are at home with Deacon on piano and Scarlett on banjo as they sing “This Town,” a dark tune about the trials and tribulations of Nashville.
To DOWNLOAD “This Town,” cowritten by Jaida Dreyer, Cory Mayo and Andrew Rollins and performed by Clare Bowen and Charles Esten, click HERE.
BONUS: Check out Nashville: On The Record featuring Jaida Dreyer, Andrew Rollins, Clare Bowen, Charles Esten, and Nashville producers:
Check out an acoustic performance of “This Town” by co-writers Jaida Dreyer and Andrew Rollins:
Check out an extended clip of “This Town” being performed by Clare Bowen and Charles Esten as Scarlett & Deacon on Nashville:
As Scarlett and Deacon sing, we see footage of Zoe (realizing the awkwardness to come) getting dressed and leaving after sleeping with Gunnar, and Rayna and Tandy watching the news report of Lamar being charged with 22 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, & extortion. His assets have been frozen until trial. Hey Rayna, about that buyout? Meanwhile Juliette’s at home looking over her trophycase full of accolades.
Scarlett tells Deacon this is what she should be doing, writing songs & playing them in his living room. She doesn’t need a record deal, she tells Deacon. Deacon tells her she can tell herself that, but he saw her face at the Opry, and she loved it. Scarlett agrees but doesn’t think the other stuff is worth it. Deacon tells her she would miss performing too much. He misses it too.
Avery is cleaning up at the Bluebird, and Juliette comes to see him. She tells him she now gets why he was so mad the other night, how it hurts to think somebody has your back and find out that they don’t. Avery asks if that’s an apology. Juliette says she was asked to join the Opry tonight, and the first thought she had was she couldn’t wait to tell him, until it dawned on her that it was her fault they weren’t talking. Avery thanks her for the apology. Juliette asks if he’s ready to head back out on the road with her, because she could use a friend. Avery tells her she can’t. Juliette tells him she’s not apologizing again and Avery laughs saying he knows, but he needs a job where he can work on his own music. Juliette accepts that, and gives him the keys to her studio to use while she’s away. Avery is really appreciative.
A frantic Tandy has gone to see Lamar in jail. Lamar tells her he knows, but just when you think he realizes Tandy sold him out, Lamar says he knows it’s Teddy who put the feds onto him. Back when Teddy was threatening to sue for full custody of Maddie and Daphne, Lamar put the feds onto his embezzlement issues. So, I guess Lamar already played that card and it didn’t work? Lamar is convinced this is revenge for that because as mayor, Teddy would have access to the information about Wyatt Industries’s contracts with the city. Tandy asks if he thinks Teddy cut a deal to save himself, and Lamar is certain he did, just as he’s certain he’s going to make Teddy pay for this. Cue ominous music and…scene!