Let me take you back to 2013. I was in my final year of school, finishing my A-Levels, and going through a pretty intense break-up. One day, while browsing YouTube (standard), I decided to Google Lennon and Maisy and what do I see? They are starring in new ABC country-music drama Nashville, conveniently about to hit UK television. How did I not know about this? Country music is, of course, my love.
Fast-forward a few weeks and I watch my first episode of Nashville. I am instantly in love. I walk around school the next day singing If I Didn’t Know Better and realising that I was totally right in my dream of wanting to move to Nashville and start a music career. All I want in life is to go to the Bluebird Cafe. I want to wear cowboy boots and sing and strum the strings of my guitar that I can’t play.
Nashville is a rare treasure. What more would you expect from a show created by the wonderful Callie Khouri with music produced by her exceptionally talented husband T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller?
Unafraid to talk about real issues, Nashville has featured some of the most emotional and hard-hitting storylines ever to have graced the screen. From addiction to postpartum depression, infidelity and LGBT+ issues, Nashville has it all and yet no plotline has ever felt tacky. Nothing has ever been too much. If there was only one word to describe Nashville, if we couldn’t talk about its award-worthy music or the stunning performances by its ensemble cast, it would be ‘honest’. There are no rose-coloured glasses. Nashville says it how it is and it is beautiful.
Charles ‘Chip’ Esten’s Deacon Claybourne, a recovering alcoholic, is just one of Nashville‘s gems. Chip has this astonishing way of portraying dozens of emotions at once. He plays vulnerability so well and, yet, Deacon’s strong side is so clearly evident. Team this, of course, with his voice – which can only be likened to the feeling of a hot toddy sliding down your throat on a cold Winter’s day – Chip is the real deal. Just listen to Believing.
Hayden Panettiere. Where do I even begin? This is no Racing Stripes but, boy, does she impress. Who knew Hayden had that voice inside of her? Trouble Is, from season 2, will always be one of my favourite songs but her heartbreaking performances of Nothing in This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again and the recent Hole in the World are truly magical. Hayden, of course, brought one of the show’s most difficult and honest plotlines. She took leave from Nashville in season 4 to seek treatment for postpartum depression, the same illness that consumed her character, Juliette Barnes. Hayden brought light to a taboo subject in the purest way. All of her scenes are heart-breaking, tragic and, quite simply, beautiful. She is truly one of this world’s best talents and I can only imagine where her career will take her next.
Nashville‘s cast isn’t what keeps this show going, though. What makes this show so special is its music, written by local songwriters who, otherwise, you may never have heard of. Kate York is a regular presence on the Nashville soundtracks and she has been joined by the likes of Striking Matches, Lucy Schwartz and Jonathan Singleton. These musicians made Nashville.
What happens now to the hundreds of talented individuals who worked on Nashville and are now unemployed?
England’s own Sam Palladio was the first cast member to be announced for Nashville way back in February 2012. It breaks my heart to think that we will never hear his sweet tones paired perfectly with Clare Bowen again. What an injustice.
Can I forget Chris Carmack’s touching performance as gay country musician Will Lexington? Nashville has fought the bigots of today’s society with passion and stubbornness. Of course there should be a space for openly gay musicians in country radio and the fact that there isn’t is an example of what is very wrong with the world. It’s 2016, guys; this really shouldn’t be an issue!
I feel like there is so much that I need to say about Nashville and, yet, no words are enough. Nashville is one of those treasures that only comes around once in a while and ends before its time.
Cancelling Nashville is a tragedy. We should, however, count ourselves somewhat lucky that ABC kept the show going as long as they did. Another network may not have been so kind. Nashville doesn’t bring in as many views as Pretty Little Liars or Grey’s Anatomy but its touching plotlines, beautiful music and exceptional cast make it a necessary addition to our TV Guides. There is nothing quite like Nashville and our television screens will never be quite the same after this truly sad cancellation.
For now, all we can do is hope that Lionsgate TV finds our darling Nashville a new home. #BringBackNashville
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