For anyone who's ever visited or worked in Music City, the new TV series "Nashville" is sure to strike a resounding chord. That's because all of the stars have musical talents beyond their acting skills.
The central plot of "Nashville" follows three female country singers at different stages in their careers -- legend Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton), up-and-comer Scarlett O'Connor (played by Clare Bowen), the young superstar Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere). Here are some fun facts about the stars of "Nashville."
Hayden Panettiere is a Grammy Award nomineeAll three actresses due a stellar job at their vocal parts, but few fans might know that Panettiere is actually a Grammy nominee. To be clear, the honor was for a spoken word album titled "A Bug's Life Read-Along." Still Panettiere has recorded a few tunes in her past. She has tracks on the soundtracks to the Disney Channel project "Tiger Cruise" and the film "Ice Princesses." And she released her own single "Wake Up Call" in 2008. Now she's been bitten by the country bug. In a recent Us Weekly interview, Panettiere revealed that she'd like to release a full-length country album.
Connie Britton dove into her singing roleBefore taking on the role of reigning country queen Rayna Jaymes, Connie Britton wasn't known as a songstress. The three-time Emmy-nominee had been recognized for her dramatic turns on the shows "Friday Night Lights" and "American Horror Story," but Britton recently told Zap2It that she dove right into the crooning role on "Nashville." She confessed, "I stupidly probably didn't take as much pause as I should have. In fact, it was the opposite… I was like, 'Singing? I can do that. I haven't sung in years and it's high time I start again.' It's been a lot of work ever since but it's been really great and really rewarding."
Charles Esten played a music iconCharles Esten plays the love of Jaymes's life, the object of Juliette Barnes's affections, and singer-songwriter/guitar player extraordinaire Deacon Claybourne on "Nashville." While off-screen his romantic life isn't as juicy (he's married with three kids), he does have the musical chops to support his gig on the show. In fact, Esten's first job in the theater was playing Buddy Holly in the London's West End production of "Buddy."
Rayna Jaymes's daughters are YouTube sensationsIf the actresses who portray Rayna's daughters Daphne and Maddie seem comfortable with each other, that's because they're sisters in real life. And when Maisy and Lennon Stella took to the stage to cover a Juliette Barnes tune in a recent episode, they proved that they had vocal skills to rival their adult co-stars. Of course the Stella girls' fans already knew that. The Canadian siblings were YouTube sensations long before getting cast on the primetime show. Their version of Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" (with butter container percussions and all) has over 10 million views.
An Englishman and an Australian create Americana goodnessViewers would never know from watching the show but the budding Americana songwriters Scarlett O'Connor and Gunnar Scott are actually played by international stars. Sam Palladio was born in Cornwall, England, and Clare Bowen hails from South Coast, Australia. After studying theater and music at Rose Bruford Drama College in the U.K., Palladio toured his homeland in the rock 'n' roll-fueled show "Dreamboats & Petticoats." Bowen honed her musical skills playing Wendla Bergman in the Sydney Theater Company production of "Spring Awakenings."
The actor who plays Watty White is a real life music legendSo far, fans haven't had a chance to hear "Nashville's" resident music producer Watty White sing. But if the need arises, his real life alter ego, J.D. Souther, should have no problem with the task at hand. In the '70s, Souther had a hit with the tune "You're Only Lonely." Still he had his greatest success as a songwriter for artists like Linda Ronstadt and bands like the Eagles, co-penning tunes like "Heartache Tonight" and "New Kid in Town."
Catch "Nashville" on Wednesday nights at 10 PM on ABC.
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