CMA Does TV/Movies: Nashville

I’ve recently been watching Nashville and it’s a pretty good show.

My favorite part is probably rolling over in my head the real life country stars the show’s characters are most similar to and presumably based on, and spotting real life happenings and incidents that make it into the fictional show. This feels like a topic the writers of the show must have addressed in interviews. But without having read those and just for a couple of the characters my sense is:

  • Rayna Jaymes: 30% Shania Twain, 70% Faith Hill
  • Luke Wheeler: 50% Tim McGraw, 30% Alan Jackson, 20% Luke Bryan
  • Juliette Barnes: 70% Taylor Swift, 20 Miranda Lambert, 10% crazy pills
  • Deacon Claybourne: 50% Robert Earl Keen, remaining % I can’t quite put my finger on
  • Will Lexington: 30% Jason Aldean, 30% Kenny Chesney, 30% Cole Swindell, 10% creative liberties

The music is good generally, both the character-related songs and various background music (recall hearing at least Eli Young Band and Zac Brown Band – ZB also making a cameo). And the acting is also good – especially Connie Britton, who if she’s not a super nice total sweetheart in real life is an even more remarkable actress. The exploration of the different strands of country music, record-label type wheeling and dealing, highs and lows of touring, writing, etc and similar themes are all interesting, and based on what I understand or suppose to be the case ring true to me. Re: different strands, the show is primarily focused on pop country, but there are plenty of explicit and implicit nods to especially alternative country and bluesy country, and also classic country and Americana. Some of the cameos are also great (e.g., Brad Paisley’s).

There is what feels to me like a bit too much soap opera style over drama. But I don’t have concrete suggestions on how that might be done better, plus the emotions drawn out are credible and at least to me surprisingly meaningful, so ultimately that’s overlookable. I don’t feel like viewers get the same window into the city or region in the same way we do for say NOLA in Treme or New Mexico in Breaking Bad, but there’s definitely authentic incorporation of classic country music and Nashville locations and backdrops. And at the end of the day the show does double duty for country music fans since viewers get to watch an entertaining TV program that’s also about and featuring country music.

Good show. Would recommend.

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