Welcome to Nashville: On The Record 3! Tonight’s show wound up with a very different flow than previous On The Records…instead of showing full (edited in post) live performances, we got more of a narrative of what life was like on the short Nashville live tour. So the show started off with Lennon & Maisy Stella harmonizing beautifully on an acoustic version of “A Life That’s Good,” written in real life by Ashley Monroe and Sarah Siskind while Charles Esten and Chris Carmack were talking guitars with music producer & guitarist Colin Linden, whose C.V. includes work with some artists you may have heard of, like Bob Dylan. We see Sam Palladio filling in a set list for the night, and then we rejoin Charles Esten on stage during a concern, introducing the film crew. As always, he is the group’s most outgoing and charismatic ambassador.
Next, a barefoot and pre-pixie cut Clare Bowen takes the stage, and we get a clip of her performing “My Song,” which was introduced in Season 3, Episode 16 and is written by Femke and Sarah Siskind. Charles Esten introduces Steve Buchanan, executive producer of Nashville and president of Opry Entertainment (if you’re curious how they’ve gotten access to the Opry on the show, and why the Opry is namechecked so often on the show, this is why. It’s translated into a nice ticket sales boost for the Opry). Buchanan praises the Nashville cast’s interest and ability to pull off live show.
Lest there was any doubt, Sam Palladio, Clare Bowen and Aubrey Peeples confirm that they do get nerves about live setting, that while they do consider themselves musicians, live concerts are not what they do on a regular basis. What sort of complications can arise? Charles Esten talks ear monitors and getting them adjusted. Chris Carmack is backstage and sings against wall to hear himself because there’s no other way. Sam Palladio talks about the importance of exercises to relaxing the diaphragm that’ll otherwise tighten up due to nerves. We see and hear warmup routines for Lennon & Maisy, and Daphne half-jokes about annoying, obnoxious high note that’s part of Lennon’s warm up. We do hear a bit of that note.
Charles Esten is back on stage performing “Whiskey Lips,” a folksy rocker written by Matt Alderman and Phillip Lamond and that he ends with a roar. He talks about pacing back and forth in the backstage area, and forgetting why he wound up somewhere.
Next up, he and Chris Carmack rehearse some backstage harmony on “Hurtin’ On Me,” introduced in Season 2, Episode 20 and written by Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen. Here’s a clip of a live performance, full-length audio follows below.
But when Chris Carmack takes the stage, it’s to introduces a song he wrote by himself, one that he performed the song for 12 people in the Viper Room 2-3 years ago. It’s a lonely, lovely acoustic ballad called “Being Alone.” As he’s shown performing, Chip Esten talks about what a blessing it is that the cast is allowed to do their own songs and how this allows fans to get to know the actors as people, too. Aubrey Peeples, meanwhile, who has turned into a real musical asset on the show, talks about how show’s helped her develop her own sound. Sam Palladio notes that he was playing music before Nashville, but to about 15 people per night in dingy places in London. This tour is putting him in front of thousands per night.
To DOWNLOAD Chris Carmack’s EP “Pieces Of You,” click HERE!
To put the show’s role in their reception in perspective, Charles Esten talks about how the first applause they get at these concers is because of the TV show but that subsequent appreciation has to be earned.
Next up, we join Lennon & Maisy in New York City as they head to Good Morning America to promote a children’s book and a song that they co-wrote called “In The Waves.” We see the young women hamming it up with Charles Esten on stage, and then we meet the Stella parents, who discuss some of the considerations they took into account when figuring out Lennon & Maisy’s involvement in the Nashville tour. They cite the unique strain of touring, which is why they chose to travel with the girls on a tour bus instead of having them take planes everywhere.
Amidst footage of Lennon & Maisy performing “Ho Hey,” (we were introduced to their cover of the song in Episode 16 of Nashville‘s inaugural season), the Stella family talks about how they try to avoid bringing too many other people in – Momma Stella stitches their clothes after buying pieces at Goodwill, the girls work with their parents on arrangements. The Stella parents don’t want this to feel like a job for Lennon & Maisy. Charles Esten praises Lennon & Maisy as sweet girls, and notes that their parents are very much a part of the show, so important to keeping the girls as sweet as they are. The Stella parents say that the two of them being out there and having all the success in the world couldn’t compare to the feeling of seeing their two daughters on stage together, and that they want to help them remain the beautiful souls they are. Well, they don’t seem overly stage-manage-y.
Lennon & Maisy talk cheerfully about the stability that having their parents with them brings, and are joined on stage by Charles Esten for “Believing,” a song cowritten by Tami Hinesh, Emily Shackelton, and Kate York that was introduced on Nashville in Season 2, Episode 11.
Next up, we meet Brandon Young, Clare Bowen’s now fiance, and learn that they met when they worked up a song together. He has been on the road with John Hyatt and Jennifer Nettles, and Clare Bowen talks about how much it means that they can be together on the road.
We roll through tour bus footage of various cast members as Charles Esten performs “He Ain’t Me,” another original song that never quite made it to the Nashville screen despite fitting the Deacon-Rayna-Luke triangle perfectly. Then we see cast hijinks as Sam Palladio & Chris Carmack, out for an ambitious run, discover that they went the wrong way and now need to double back. Lots of transit footage, as Sam Palladio steps off the tour bus and heads to a concert venue and Clare Bowen rides to the private jet. Meanwhile, Charles Esten is really working the stage and gets a big crowd reaction for his efforts.
As Esten has the crowd going, Sam Palladio is tuning his guitar backstage, and he eventually takes the stage to perform “When You Open Your Eyes,” a song written by Nicole Johnson, Michael Logen, and Sarah Emily Parrish and introduced on Nashville in Season 3, Episode 2. As he performs, Clare Bowen shares that she grew up more around animals than people and that she experiences social anxiety when in the middle of crowds, though not from the stage. Carrie Underwood has admitted that she struggles with the exact same thing. Clare Bowen admits that the Meet & Greets are a challenge for her, even though the people are absolutely lovely. Carrie Underwood has definitely said the same thing. Anyway, we see Clare Bowen’s father, whom she hadn’t seen for 6 months surprise her for a show, and that makes all her anxiety go away. Clare Bowen marvels about being able to play the amazing stages where so many legends have played, and muses that celebrity is such a silly thing. She figures that it’s incumbent, when in a position of celebrity to use the platform for good (see: her recent haircut, though it’s not mentioned).
We see more backstage playfulness from Chris Carmack, who pretends to go after the cameraman, while Charles Esten spooks Maisy Stella. The spontaneity leads into a discussion of making adjustments to last-minute set changes, generally driven by Charles Esten, who believes enough in the talent of his tourmates that he figures they’ll be fine with a 15-minute rehearsal. Sam Palladio informs that Charles Esten now wants to close the show with a big “thrashing rock” song, with Chris & Sam backing him on harmonies and, in Sam’s case, drums.
We finally get to hear from Colin Linden, who, per Charles Esten, plays the guitar parts of the show’s songs and then teaches Charles Esten how to play the parts. Chris Carmack talks about working with Colin to play electric at the live show, something he hasn’t done during the Nashville tour. We see him doing a little electric guitar solo on “And Then We’re Gone,” a raspy, throaty rocker that Charles Esten cowrote with Chris Janson whose lyrics do make for a fitting encore. We see Aubrey Peeples on stage as a redhead (she was probably filming that ill-fated Jem movie around that time).
Chris Carmack and Aubrey Peeples are backstage rehearsing harmonies for their duet, “If Your Heart Can Handle It,” a song written by Dean Alexander and Jaida Dreyer and introduced on Nashville in Season 3, Episode 8.
Meanwhile, Charles Esten grees a fan while heading into TV studio to do satellite interviews. This leads into a segment dedicated to Nashville fans. Chris Carmack talks about the loyalty of fans, and then joins Charles Esten, Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen to talk about the unique opportunity they have as actors to connect with the fans through live music. Appropriately enough for the message they want to send, we see footage of the cast performing “Friend Of Mine,” a song written by Johnny Hanson and Lucy Schwartz and introduced on Nashville in Season 3, Episode 12, live. We learn that fans of the show have become friends with each other via social media. Bond online over a TV show?! Who does that?! ;) We hear from two co-workers who bond over their show love at the office. We see more footage of the cast greeting the fans. Lennon & Maisy talk about how much they love meeting fans. There are photos taken, autographs signed, and we see that the show has a fan from Brazil, while two college exchange students say that Nashville was the only U.S. show they kept up with while abroad in Italy.
Chris Carmack emphasizes that their TV performances wouldn’t have any meaning if not for the fans, and we get more footage from M&G. Chris talks about how he was surprised to find how familiar he felt with the fans, while Charles Esten talks about “Nashville nation.” This segment feels a little bit like marketing that the show has fans, but it’s also a nice gesture to what is a pretty loyal group of viewers.
As the show closer, we see the cast backstage working on “A Life That’s Good,” written, as Charles Esten notes, by Sarah Siskind and Ashley Monroe. Charles Esten dedicates the song to the fans. Lennon & Maisy start it off, then Aubrey, out come Clare, Sam and Chris, Chip joins them. There’s more footage of soundcheck, the cast greeting fans, D.C.’s DAR Constitution Hall (which was one of the Nashville tour’s venues), and with smiles and applause, that’s a wrap. Come back and join us on March 16th, when the drama of Nashville resumes, won’t you?
To DOWNLOAD Nashville: Original Soundtrack, Season 4, Volume 1, click HERE!
To DOWNLOAD Nashville: On The Record 3, click HERE!