Ask anyone who knows me: I am a fan of almost every musical genre except for country. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never been a fan. Perhaps as someone who was born and raised in New York City, I could never relate to the music – the twang, the southern style, the consistent storylines about being drunk, cheating and heartbreak, etc., just never did it for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely impervious to it – there are definitely a handful of songs that somehow managed to slip through the cracks, tugging at my heart strings just enough so that I wouldn’t immediately change the channel, but by and large, I am not what you would call a country music fan.
The incomparable Connie Britton, my beloved Tami Taylor of Friday Night Lights, is the star of ABC’s new drama series, Nashville, and despite my lack of enthusiasm for country music, there was simply no way I was not going to tune in to watch as Tami – er, Connie – took everyone by storm. And boy did she. I don’t know what took the networks so long to cast her as the lead of her own show, but thank goodness they finally came to their senses. And the casting could not be more perfect – she is beyond convincing in her portrayal of a country music legend, and she not only mesmerizes with her acting prowess, but who knew the woman could sing?? Move over Gwyneth Paltrow, there is a new actor-turned-country-music singer in town and I am pretty sure this one is here to stay.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that music legend T-Bone Burnett is the man behind the music of the show (he’s married to the show’s EP Callie Khouri) and is serving up song after song that will probably turn the show into a launchpad for new country music hits (I wouldn’t be surprised). It’s not often that fictitious “hits” on TV shows stay with me to the point where I find myself singing them well after the show has aired. And that’s literally after only having heard them once (as opposed to the “Call Me, Maybe”s of the world that we are literally forced to get hooked on because we can’t avoid hearing them 50 times a day!) I mean, if you watched Nashville last Wednesday, there’s no way the phrase “I’m Already Gone!” doesn’t do it for you. Am I right?
Since I’m such a huge fan of Connie’s, she’s really all it took for me to get hooked, but of course it’s important to note that the rest of the cast is also holding their own, for the most part. Hayden Panettiere plays the young Juliette Barnes, nemesis to Connie’s Rayna Jaymes, and she is perfectly despicable yet intriguing as the talentless, promiscuous young opportunist who is trying to overtake Rayna’s throne. Then there’s Charles Esten who plays Rayna’s loyal lead guitarist and band leader of twenty years, Deacon Claybourne, who young Juliette is trying to seduce away from his long standing post. He is incredibly likable and the apparently complicated past between he and Rayna is a storyline that I can’t wait to see unfold as the season continues. The one poorly cast character in my opinion is Rayna’s husband, Teddy Conrad, played by Eric Close. Now maybe it’s because no one can hold a candle to Tami Taylor’s long time devoted husband, Coach Eric Taylor (played to perfection by Kyle Chandler) but I just don’t think he is nearly as strong an actor and seems to detract from his scenes with Connie because he simply cannot keep up with her.
Be that as it may, I am definitely willing to get past it (and I should cut the guy some slack since all we’ve seen so far is the pilot). I cannot wait to see what happens in the coming weeks of my new favorite drama and am eager to hear all the incredible music that T-Bone has up his sleeve. By the end of the season, I may just have become a full fledged country music fan… crazier things have happened!
Now voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of legendary producer T-Bone Burnett’s projects is your favorite?
O Brother Where Art Thou
Walk the Line
For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!