'Nashville' actors talk about new life in Tennessee


On "Nashville," Charles Esten plays Deacon, a talented musician who really wants to make, let's say, "beautiful music" again with Connie Britton's character.

Meantime, the actor-singer-songwriter feels like he's snuck into Nashville through a side door thanks to this show.

"Suddenly, here comes this role where it's just literally the best of both worlds," said Esten. "This is how I got to sing these amazing songs by the best songwriters Nashville has to offer, played with the best musicians that Nashville has to offer, on stage at the Ryman Auditorium or the Grand Ole Opry. That doesn't happen without this."

To be on "Nashville," you have to live in Nashville. So for most of the actors, that has meant a big change in their lives. Esten and the other men of "Nashville" met me at The Southern, a popular eatery.

"The whole community here has really welcomed the cast, and that was so important to kind of crack Nashville," said Sam Palladio, who came here from England.

Robert Wisdom once worked as a banker on Wall Street.

"I've never been on a nighttime, primetime, high-profile sexy soap," said Wisdom. "I have people coming up to me now that I never thought would be in my demographic."

Eric Close, who spent years on "Without a Trace," thinks the potential is there for "Nashville," too.

"I saw this, and I went, 'I've never seen anything like this on television,'" said Close. "I could see the potential for it to be successful and to run for a long time. People love country music. It's bigger than ever."

"Nashville" is a big deal for former "General Hospital" star Jonathan Jackson. He, too, is a singer, and he gets to play one on TV.

"This is kind of a dream role for me to be able to combine singing and acting," said Jackson. "I've been doing music for a long time, songwriting, and this project came along and it's been incredible."

Jackson said he has already recorded a couple of songs for the show and that there's a soundtrack CD of the first season already in the works.

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