Music is a religion in Nashville:
I'm very selective when it comes to following a TV show. There have only been a few over the years that excited me enough to talk about and that kept me hooked, eagerly awaiting the next week's episode. In the past it was Crime Story (Michael Mann director; they had great guest appearances, Debbie Harry, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis...), Homocide: Life On The Street (more great cameos) and Max Headroom (cyberpunk). So you can see it's been a while since I've had anything to follow. I should interject that I loved the contemporary Sherlock series, however brief (yes, I know season 3 is coming, but it's too far between seasons to sustain interest).
Enter NASHVILLE!!! The show has some incredible talent on board -- Callie Khouri (Creator) and her husband T-Bone Burnett (Executive Music Producer), and the whole freakin' cast, who perform what is mostly original music themselves. The writing is like one long poetic country song -- that and the production values are tight. The music plays a starring role that translates into a culture that's immersed in it, where lives revolve around it, with great highs and lows.
The characters range from seasoned veterans (Rayna James, Deacon Claybourne) and up-and-comers, some with money (Juliette Barnes), some starving (Scarlett O'Connor, Gunnar Scott and Avery Barkley), but they're all struggling within the framework of a calculating, dollar-driven industry. Something that's missing in that mix though are the street performers. There must be a ton of them in Nashville, and pretty talented ones I'm guessing. Since the show includes some of the popular and legendary locations in the city (Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium, Scarlett's neighborhood: East Nashville, and RCA Studio B...) it would be fascinating to see some shots that included street musicians. After doing a quick review it seems that the laws regulating street performers are very strict in the city. Sad as that is, it could make for some good drama.
Free Dirt on the streets of Nashville, photo by Gary Bowen
Rayna and Deacon have the best lines in the show. Unbelievably good dialog that has me reaching for a pen time after time to jot down the words. Deacon in a quiet moment with Rayna: "You can tell me everything, or you can tell me nothing, but you can't tell me you don't love me." And Rayna, being pressured by record company execs to make a decision, "Well you can kiss my decision as it's walking out the door" and she exits, stage right[eous].
Sam Palladio who plays Gunnar Scott was the first to be cast for the series. He auditioned by webcam, live from his home outside of London. Previously he played Joe Strummer in a British TV series called Little Crackers. He's currently in a band called Salt Water Thief (from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: "Notable pirate! Thou salt-water thief!").
Gunnar with Scarlett:
The great news is that the show just got renewed for a second season YeeHaw!
In the spirit of the show, my brother Kevin did a photo session with me and Marcel on Mother's Day. It was great fun in the sun on an old farm in California: