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The Music of Nashville – Original Soundtrack: Season 1 Volume 1 album review

Nashville is one of the hottest new shows in the US and has had viewers hooked since it debuted late last year. Starring Connie Britton as fading country singer Rayna James and Hayden Panettiere as her younger rival Juliette Barnes, the show tells the story of a power struggle between the two as they’re forced to work together. Outside of the two female leads rivalry, there are additional storylines including Rayna’s relationship with old-flame and guitarist Deacon (Charles Esten) and her troubled marriage to wannabe politician Teddy (Eric Close). Deacon’s niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is another supporting character who is trying to make it with her songwriting partner Gunnar (Sam Palladio) but being held back by her fame hungry boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson).

Now showing in the UK on More4, the show has seen the release of the first volume of its soundtrack. Containing 11 tracks from the show, the release offers songs from all of the show’s main characters. The music from a show is a mixture of covers and original songs written especially for the show. The album opens with Connie Britton performing Buried Under, one of the more traditional country songs on the record. Britton has a light but pleasant voice and her character was clearly based on country legend Reba McEntire.

Musically she’s out-performed by her younger co-star Hayden Panettiere. Panettiere has always tried to find success in music whilst working as an actress but she’s found it hard to be taken seriously. Her contributions to this release show that country is the genre she should be exploring. The country-pop of Telescope is reminiscent of Taylor Swift but Panettiere’s voice is much stronger. She convinces with her country twang. Her best moments are on the gorgeous Undermine with Charles Esten and the heartfelt radio-friendly Love Like Mine.

When the two female leads join together on Wrong Song it’s one of the most explosive moments of the season and the album. Their voices work well together on the country-rock number and it’s not hard to imagine this would be a huge hit on country radio in the US.

Both Britton and Panettiere are outshined by their co-stars Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio. Their version of The Civil Wars’ If I Didn’t Know Better is the strongest moment on the album and one of the highlights of the show’s first season so far. Bowen has a sweet unique tone to her voice whilst Palladio has an impressive range. Together they sound incredible sending shivers down our spine. Their other track on the album is the emotive When The Right One Comes Along. The song is stunning and Bowen shines brightly with her gorgeous vocal performance.

Elsewhere on the album Charles Esten gets solo on Sideshow, a song that sums up the life of his character Deacon, Jonathan Jackson covers Elvis Costello on Twist of Barbwire and Connie Britton duets with Esten on the ballad No One Will Ever Love You. Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella, who play Rayna’s daughters on the show, provide their own version of Telescope and their performance is remarkable. For two such young actresses they sound magnificent.

We’re absolutely hooked on Nashville and we’re so glad the soundtrack got a release in the UK. Even though the show is hidden away with little fanfare on More4 it’s still building a loyal following here. The music is absolutely superb and whilst the UK isn’t known for its love of country, this may do well off the back of the show. We can’t wait for the next volume of the soundtrack and we hope we get to hear even more from Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio next time round.

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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