'Nashville' Star Charles 'Deacon' Esten on the Upside of the Show Getting Axed By ABC

Charles Esten
Courtesy of Marushka Media

Charles Esten

Nashville was canceled after four seasons on ABC — and picked up a month later by CMT. Actor Charles Esten (aka the troubled, lovable guitarist Deacon) discusses the new season, which launched Jan. 5.

How’s the move to CMT?
We’ve always strived for authenticity ... and now on CMT we can tell the stories with fewer showy story points and let things breathe -- like a country song.

Living in Nashville, have you met anyone who reminds you of Deacon?
Artists and songwriters have difficulties. There’s a lot of pain that is drawn upon to create beauty, and Deacon is the patron saint of that. (Laughs.) He has been through so much it has almost broken him completely, but it means he has some things to say behind a guitar or sitting at a notepad. I’ve run into that again and again.

What is the show’s truest aspect?
The way it can just happen in this town, where suddenly things take off. I’ve seen it myself -- one of the first times I was at the Bluebird [Cafe], Shane McAnally, Luke Laird and Kacey Musgraves were playing songs from this album they were working on, Same Trailer Different Park.

What is the process of recording songs for the show?
It’s a little different than just cutting a song, because you’re in character while you’re singing -- that’s Deacon singing that song. On top of that, it’s Deacon singing that song in a particular moment in time with very particular people. You have to bring all that with you to the studio.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 14 issue of Billboard.


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