Nashville: Soundtrack, Volume One

by Chuck Dauphin

Since it’s debut back in September, many in the music business have made ABC a Wednesday night ritual with their Music City-themed soap opera “Nashville.” The show has performed well enough to receive a full season order from the network, so it appears that she show is making an equalmark among fans.

As you would expect, the show also features original material, which isn’t a novel concept. In the 1970s, Robert Altman’s motion picture did as well. But, almost forty years later, I’m not sure if he was making fun of Country Music – or not. (Elitist critics, overlook me, but the music on that film was awful, IMHO)

With T-Bone Burnett involved, you can imagine the music would be first-rate here. And, for the most part, it is. Both lead actresses, Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, get their chances to shine, and both do. The former does a fabulous job along with co-star Charles Esten on the heartbreak stunner “No One Will Ever Love You,” but not to be outdone, her romantic rival (?) for Deacon’s affections, makes some nice music with Esten  on “Undermine.” If they are truly serious about recording, I think it’s possible for both of them to have some real success here, particularly Hayden.

That being said, the musical star here is Claire Bowen. Though the whine her Scarlett O’ Connor  character makes me want to run straight to the arms of the Cougar-like music executive as her boyfriend did in the series, as a singer, she sounds immaculate on the realistic look at love “When The Right One Comes Along,” along with Sam Palladio. She also is part the album’s best performance, again with Sam, on the haunting “If I Didn’t Know Better,” a cover of a song recently performed by Alt-Country’s The Civil Wars. As good as theirs was, I prefer this one. Bowen’s little girl type personality in her vocals gets to play off the seductive feel of the lyrics, and she absolutely scores!

So, will the stars of “Nashville” become the next big “Nashville Stars?” That’s up for debate, but all play on words aside, there is some very good stuff here – at least enough to make me look forward to a Volume two!

For more information, log on to www.ABC.com/shows/Nashville

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