Deception & Deceit . . . Rinse & Repeat, Ray-Ray
Coleman and Tandy are less than encouraging to Ray-Ray and Deacon about the latter two's recently rekindled flame. Coleman equates Ray-Ray to an addiction for Deacon. Hellooo, Coleman. Where have you been these past few months? Of course, Ray-Ray is an addiction for Deacon. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Tandy urges her sister to take it slow. Tandy is up to no good, that's for sure. Just what she's up to, Stormy isn't sure. But here's betting Ray-Ray's daughter does not go unscathed in this one. Tandy is likely to be the sister Ray-Ray will wish she never had.
Deacon comes clean with Dr. Stacy. After confessing that the doc wasn't obsessing about Ray-Ray's obsession with him, Deacon diagnoses their breakup. Well, Dr. Stacy has just the prescription for this. She's keeping the puppy! It looks like Deacon left Dr. Stacy with a bad case of heartworm.
Juliette and Ray-Ray go head to head for the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award. Juliette goes all out campaigning for the big award. At this rate, she'll need a new gown, shoes, jewels and a new liver. On the red carpet, Ray-Ray demonstrates that she has perfected the art of the finely delivered zinger when she sniffs out the overly indulgent Juliette as she refers to her scent as "80 proof." Ray-Ray is dead-on with her delivery and does it with a perfect smile as she poses for the cameras. You go, girl! In Juliette's defense, if your manager/boyfriend leaves town with your money, it tends to bring out the surly side in a girl. Let's face it: Juliette is only human. And for the record, Deacon, who quit Juliette's band just five minutes before her performance for the big industry crowd, must be the most frequently unemployed guitar player in Music City. No worries, though, as Avery fills in at the last minute when a drunken Juliette takes the stage, Deacon heads for his car while Avery does the same with Juliette. Suddenly, Stormy is wondering, "Where did that Deacon go?" Again, no worries. This guy always turns up somewhere, usually with a female nearby. While Juliette sleeps off one too many glasses of Champagne, Dante calls, and it sounds like Dante has a tape. And we're not talkin' a demo here. In the previews, Dante tells Juliette he'll need $10 million for the racy video. Hold out, Juliette. Ask yourself, what would Kim Kardashian do???
In a moment that proves Ray-Ray is about as spontaneous as an aged cheese, Ray-Ray finally caves and agrees to go....
PUPPY LOVE OR SOMETHING DANG NEAR LIKE IT
Let’s see, where are we now? Deacon learned the power of a cute puppy. No woman can resist a guy with a furry friend. Will Deacon finally find love at the veterinarian’s office? At the very least, the vet gave Deacon a little check-up, and she wasn’t looking for heartworm. Hug that little puppy, Deacon. Boom-chica-bow wow!
Rayna and Teddy are sharing the family home, and Rayna laid down the law about Ol’ Peg–Teddy’s not to bring his special projects home from the office. Teddy knows better than to cross Rayna. If anything, spreadsheets are the only thing Teddy and Peggy should be sharing in the house that Rayna built.
Lamar barged into Teddy’s office, obviously intent on reminding Teddy that Teddy’s the puppet, and Lamar is the puppeteer. Teddy’s not having it, though. Lamar storms out. How is Lamar going to take Mayor Conrad down a notch? Reel him in? Teddy’s just drunk with power. Lamar’s not happy–and he doesn’t even know that his granddaughter got cracked in the head by a completely empty and out-of-place-looking shelf.
FIRING ON ALL SIX CYLINDERS
Oh, Nashville, how dare you tug at Stormy’s heartstrings and make her cry! Stormy can take the cheating, lying, back-stabbing and occasional really bad fashion ensemble but this week’s episode cut Stormy to the very core.
Juliette can’t muster up the courage for family therapy with her recovering addict mother but she does find time to toss a humdinger of a birthday party for Deacon at The Bluebird, complete with “Deacon faces on a Stick’” for everyone to enjoy. An odd choice, it seems, for a guy who doesn’t like surprise parties. As for Stormy, any time Vince Gill shows up, it’s an occasion to celebrate. The only time a real live celebrity showed up at Stormy’s birthday party, it was at the McDonald’s at 12th and Broadway where Stormy and her 10 best girlfriends fought over the Barbie prize in the Happy Meals. Sadly, that’s not a childhood memory. Back to the party. Juliette is forced to leave early when her mother, Jolene, succumbs to the power of too much bubbly. Juliette takes matters into her own hands and gets her mama home where she puts her to bed to sleep it off. Stormy actually felt sorry for Juliette, until Gunnar, but more on that later.
LAYIN' DOWN THE LAW
Stormy has yet to anticipate an episode as much as she did last night’s installment of Nashville.
Maybe it was the thought of Ray-Ray and Deacon picking up where they left off on that steamy elevator kiss. Instead of locking lips with Deacon, Ray-Ray takes Liam for a spin. After a night of honky tonkin’, complete with Ray-Ray trying to disguise herself with Liam’s fedora, the two head back to the hotel. Liam invites Ray-Ray inside for a nightcap, hoping he’ll get more than a cordial. Amid their steamy kiss, Ray-Ray excuses herself and heads for the bathroom to powder her nose and reapply her lip gloss (like that was going to last long with lip-locking Liam). You know, as Ray-Ray raked that lip gloss applicator across her lips, Stormy was humming a few bars of that Barbara Mandrell classic . . . “while I’m puttin’ on my makeup, I’m puttin’ on the one that really loves me.” Liam’s just a band-aid here. We all know Deacon’s the cure. He’s the elixir that cures what ails her if Ray-Ray will just take the medicine.
SORRY, VIRGINIA -- NASHVILLE IS FOR LOVERS
Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. When last week’s episode of Nashville ended with Deacon boarding the plane, Teddy assumed that Rayna had hired her former lover and guitar player to join her on tour. Once on board, we learn that it’s actually Juliette for whom Deacon will be working the swizzle stick. Teddy’s not havin’ it. He’s had enough of Rayna flaunting Deacon in his face. Teddy’s a powerful political figure now, and he’s going to act like one.
Enter Ole Peg. What started with a look led to a kiss and ended with the ultimate betrayal for Teddy. He and Ole Peg at least show some remorse after the deed is done. Meanwhile, tension is building between Deacon and Rayna as the tour criss-crosses the country. The lovelorn duo shares some classic sixth-grade romantic moments, like sharing the same elevator space but refusing to acknowledge each other. Rayna and Deacon finally graduate to acknowledging their feelings with Rayna going so far as to send Deacon her room number. Just when we think these two are going to rekindle their romance behind closed doors, who but Teddy thwarts their efforts. The man has all the timing of a really bad waiter. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, be it right or oh so very wrong.
HAIR... THE ONLY THING NOT GIVING RAYNA TROUBLE!
Stormy realizes that Rayna doesn’t want her pity but that’s all Stormy can muster up for the girl. Oh, well, that and some serious hair envy. Stormy l-o-v-e-s Rayna’s hair. You see, good hair is a gift, and Rayna’s got it. At times, it’s the only thing that’s not giving Rayna trouble.
Let’s start with Deacon. He and Rayna, Nashville’s star-crossed lovers, have a history and likely a child together. Rayna’s marriage is hanging on by a thread and where does Deacon show up? On tour with Rayna and Juliette. What does Rayna do now? It’s hard to ignore the 1,000-pound elephant in the room when you’re traveling across the country with him. A different hotel every night. Your husband and two adorable daughters out of sight but not out of mind. How long until Rayna caves? Yeah, there’s a cliffhanger brewing here. Better yet, it’s boiling. Stormy predicts Rayna is going to pull some hair out over Deacon. Hopefully, she’s fortifying with a good conditioner.
As for Deacon, Stormy is glad that man left the Revel Kings and got back in touch with his normal hair. As cute as he may be, that over-gelled too-tall hair wasn’t working.
TOO MUCH TENSION TO MENTION
Deacon got fired. Teddy has a new job. Juliette shed a husband. Rayna doesn’t know what to do with hers. Just another week in Nashville.
Rayna and Juliette kick off their Red Lips, White Lies tour across the country in San Diego. Both ladies whip the crowd into a frenzy but these two have a world of trouble on their minds. Back at home, quarterback Sean calls foul and serves Juliette with court documents where he reveals that a divorce isn’t going to cut it. Sean wants out but it’ll take an annulment to get rid of him, forcing Juliette to admit that their marriage was a fraud. Not the best move for Juliette’s career but what’s a girl to do? Score one for Sean as he gets in one last stinging comment when he lets Juliette know that she was right. He didn’t like her once he got to know her. Ouch! Juliette feel the wrath of a quarterback scorned. Juliette puts on a tough game face but deep down, Stormy believes Juliette is truly heartbroken. At the very least, Stormy thinks Juliette might have had a few good intentions. She didn’t really mean to ruin Sean’s life. It’s just that Juliette’s life reads like a sad country song, and her divorce is just the latest chapter in a sad, sad saga. Will Juliette find true love? Stormy predicts she’ll find a suitable substitute as the tour heads down the road. Give her time.
I DO BUT I DON'T
“I only hate sunburns and hangovers. This is just business.” Rayna has been teasing Stormy with that line for weeks, and finally, last night, the wait was over.
Episode nine was all about marriage. Crumbling marriages, to be precise. First there’s Rayna, who by all appearances, seemed to be a bit spunkier in 2013. But it was short lived. Stormy has been harping on Rayna’s troubled hubby Teddy for eight weeks now, only to learn that Rayna is no angel. Lamar dropped the bombshell right there where Rayna lives, in the kitchen, when he announced that Teddy isn’t little Mattie’s father. Rayna later confronts her daddy down at campaign headquarters, giving him that eyes-half-open steely glare that only Rayna can deliver. Once dead set on taking the girls on tour with her, Rayna reconsiders. Rayna, Teddy and the girls share a painful goodbye at the bus before Rayna leaves town for her five-month tour with Juliette.
ABC promised an explosive winter NASHVILLE finale, and they didn’t disappoint. Let’s revisit episode eight so we can contemplate those previews, shall we?
Hailey tempts Scarlett with a job lead, fronting a band. Indecisive Scarlett is torn between her songwriting obligations with Gunnar and taking her place in the spotlight. Hmmm, or is she really afraid the band will take her away from cutie pie Gunnar? Career or love, Scarlett, what shall it be? It’s the year 2012; you can have it all, you know? Gunnar doesn’t take the news well at all and confronts Hailey, firing accusations left and right. Gunnar accuses Hailey of plotting against him out of jealousy. (Well, duh, Gunnar! ever met a woman scorned?) Hailey declares it “over” with Gunnar. Gunnar finds Scarlett and lays it all on the line and on Scarlett’s lips. A shocked Scarlett informs Gumnar that he can’t just go around kissing people just because he wants to. And why not Scarlett? Why not? Scarlett later revisits the whole topic with Gunnar, a discussion that doesn’t go well at all.
Uber hip producer Dominic likes what he hears in Avery and invites Avery to record in Atlanta. Avery drops by to see Scarlett and gifts her with a sentimental bottle of bubbly. Scarlett wishes him well and doesn’t chase after him. She doesn’t flinch or utter one syllable toward begging him to stay. You go, girl! On Dominic’s posh plane headed to Atlanta, Dom proposes that Avery pursue a solo career. Ditch the band, dude, you’ve got a career all by yourself. Will Avery ditch the band? Yes, if his bedmate ruthless manager Marilyn has any say in this. And Stormy is betting she does.
The Mother Church
When Juliette Barnes stands alone and awestruck on the stage of the empty Ryman Auditorium, anxiously anticipating her first performance there, the most obvious reason why the 120-year-old building is called The Mother Church of Country Music becomes immediately clear. Before her are rows of worn wooden pews fanning out from so close to the stage that the front row occupants can reach out and touch a performer, and up a slope of floor to the back rows under balcony. On the rear wall of both levels are the tall stained glass windows consistent with Captain Tom Ryman’s vision of building a sanctuary for the sermons of evangelist Rev. Sam Jones. The Union Gospel Tabernacle opened on Fifth Avenue just north of Broadway in 1892 and when Ryman passed away in 1904, the building was renamed the Ryman Auditorium.
Though it provided the stage for many superstars of the day—Enrico Caruso, Roy Rogers, Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Hope and Mae West. among them—its most famous and enduring role began in 1943, when the Grand Ole Opry began a 31-year-residency within the hallowed halls. The Opry was by then 18-years-old, and the Ryman period was inarguably the formative era of what is now the world’s longest-broadcast live radio show. It was then that the Ryman was dubbed The Mother Church of Country Music. (It is also known as the Birthplace of Bluegrass, thanks to the night in December 1945 when twenty-one year old Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe on stage for the first time.)
Maybe it was the unusually beautiful moon last night. Perhaps the planets simply aligned. Or did Rayna and Juliette finally opt to take the path of least resistance for the sake of plot progression? Either way, these two country queens got everything right with “You’ve Got the Wrong Song,” the new tune the ladies wrote and performed together on last night’s episode.
After six shows of not even pretending to play nice, Rayna and Juliette take the stage and bring the house down at Edgehill Record’s 25th anniversary concert. Props to diplomatic Deacon who possesses a power of persuasion over seemingly every cast member. Need rehab? See Deacon. Cheating boyfriend? See Deacon. Rival artist driving you crazy? See Deacon. Loser husband bringing you down? See Deacon. Dr. Deacon the Voice of Reason, is in. Rayna, appalled at the thought of touring with her nemesis Juliette, is none too happy at the thought of performing even one song with Juliette at the big show. Once again, it’s Deacon, the voice of reason, who helps Rayna see the light. It’s not a big, bright light but just enough for Rayna to see her way to Juliette’s house where the two divas collaborate. Is the Rayna/Juliette tour next?
Behind Closed Doors
Yes, we have our characters and our wild childs—George Jones, Tanya Tucker and Mindy McCready pop to mind. And brilliantly talented but tortured figures who died tragically young—Hank Williams, Keith Whitley and Gram Parsons for instance—are indelibly ingrained in our story.
But when it comes to sensational, out-of-control, full-blown twitter frenzies and YouTube blow-ups, Nashville ranks pretty low on the scandal scale. We’re not necessarily lacking in juicy gossip, rumor-sharing and eyebrow raising behavior; we just know how to keep it in the family.
Nashville has often been referred to as a big small town, and even as the Tennessee Titans introduced our Batman building to Monday Night Football viewing audiences, Nashville is still a place where even the biggest celebrities in all fields of the entertainment business can keep as low a profile as they want, while also being meaningfully involved in the community.
“We’re young. We’re hot. And I’ve got a jet.” Well, what better justification does one need? Better yet, has anyone ever given a better reason why to do something than Juliette did in episode six of ABC’s Nashville?
In Juliette’s ongoing attempt to redeem her shoplifting self, she unselfishly shows up at a zoo fundraiser where a furry rodent firmly attaches itself to Juliette’s head. We know that Juliette’s poor mom, Jolene, has a narcotics monkey on her back (as far as we know, Jolene is still somewhere rehabilitating, thanks to Deacon) but Juliette had a furry rodent on her head.
The more we come to know Juliette the more we learn that she rarely does anything that isn’t motivated by self-serving intentions. We’re not judging, mind you, but the woman has now dragged an innocent and otherwise untainted pro football player down with her. Career sabotage is nothing new to Juliette. But what’s a girl to do? Juliette wrongs her right by making a $25,000 back-seat deal with the photographer to purchase unflattering images of the young NFL player. See? All done. That’s just how Juliette rolls.
Nashville: Things Get Topsy Turvey
A brawl in the street, embezzlement, drug abuse, jail, record a new album . . . it’s all in a day’s work on the fifth installment of ABC’s Nashville.
What’s Juliette to do? The girl doesn’t make any friends when she insists that band and crew pull an all-nighter to get her latest recording session just right. Meanwhile, things at home are falling apart for Juliette as her pill-poppin’ mama Jolene has a sleepover with another addict. Compassion comes in the form of recovering addict Deacon, who takes Jolene to a rehabilitation center. But not before Juliette tells her mama just what she thinks of her and vice versa. When is Juliette going to learn that the peering eyes of the public are focused squarely upon her? If there’s even a remote chance that your mama’s gonna unload on you, make sure you do it in the privacy of your spacious home in a gated community. Anywhere inside your expansive mansion but surely not on the front porch for all the neighbors to see and hear. Girl, guard thy privacy.
By Steve Buchanan
Executive Producer of NASHVILLE and President, Grand Ole Opry Group
Music City Blog: Nashville Communities
The panoramic fly-overs of the sparkling skyline and rolling hills that ring the city, present a birds-eye view of Nashville’s vibrancy and natural beauty. Closer to earth, cameras take us through the guarded gates of exclusive communities and behind the doors of some of our town’s priciest homes. (Rayna and Teddy’s house is on the market for $19.5 million. The swanky digs where in Episode 5 Juliette flees to escape unpleasant memories can be yours for just $3.2 mil, infinity pool included). Other location-setter drive-bys include historic/hipster East Nashville, where Scarlett and Avery live; the modern condo buildings shooting up like bamboo in The Gulch; and the sidewalk-rimmed, tree-shaded streets that frame Music Row.
But it’s the neon-lit cruise down Lower Broad in downtown Nashville that is most uniquely and unmistakably Music City. Towered over by newly constructed high-rises and skyscrapers (like The Pinnacle, home of Rayna and Juliette’s record label offices) and just two blocks from the nearly- finished $585 million new convention center, the architecture on the 5-block stretch of Broadway from 5th Avenue to the river remains remarkably unchanged from its 19th century origin.
HAYDEN PANETTIERE - "TELESCOPE"
By Steve Buchanan
Executive Producer of NASHVILLE and President, Grand Ole Opry Group
Music City Blog: Rising as a Songwriter
The original creator of the phrase “It all begins with a song” has been endlessly debated in watering holes all over Music City—usually over a beer or five. Whoever it was could have made a pretty penny had they copyrighted their words of wisdom before the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) co-opted it as their slogan not long after they formed in 1967 with 40 founding members. Among them—a just-starting-out Kris Kristofferson and Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, who co-wrote “Wake Up, Little Susie” and “Rocky Top.”
In the bad old days, Nashville songwriters received little recognition and even less compensation for their craft. Today, though the stars still stand in the spotlight, the singers know that the songs form the foundation of their careers.
The song, of course, begins with the writer—or more often, the co-writers. So how does song get to singer? Though stories of writers, aka servers/valet parkers/bartenders, slipping their demos to a producer while serving/parking/pouring are legion, that rarely gets results. At least not the results a writer is hoping for.
The more professional and typically more successful route is through a song plugger, who is employed by a publishing company, which is the place where aspiring writers aspire to start their careers.
T-R-O-U-B-L-E in N-A-S-H-V-I-L-L-E
I Smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E!
Oh, the scandals! Stormy couldn’t get that Travis Tritt tune out of her head. The characters on ABC’s Nashville are more complex than Stormy originally thought. And they’ve got heartaches by the number, troubles by the score. But even the mellow sounds of Ray Price are little consolation to this motley crew.
Stormy naively thought that Rayna and Deacon’s love affair was a thing of the past. Turns out those two are still fanning the flames. In fact, to steal a line from the soulful Ronnie Milsap, Rayna actually got caught having daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon. Actually, it was late morning but nonetheless, we know what Rayna’s thinking. And very likely, what she’s been doing.
Juliette, who now shares her palatial estate with her drug addict mama, is reeling from her temporary lapse of judgement at the supermarket where she lifted a bottle of nail polish. 5-1-5-0, somebody called the po-po on Juliette, landing her firmly amid a public relations nightmare. Juliette was reminded that the internet is a blessing and a curse. It can shoot your latest single straight to the top of the charts. But shoplift a bottle of nail polish and four million people are invited to watch as you begin a painful, downward spiral. Viral, indeed.
By Steve Buchanan
Executive Producer of NASHVILLE and President, Grand Ole Opry Group
An opportunity every songwriter who comes to Nashville fantasizes about practically falls into Scarlett and Gunnar’s laps when legendary producer and star-maker Watty White is bowled over by their impromptu debut performance at the Bluebird Café one lucky night. He makes good on his promise to the two unknowns to demo three of their songs, and brings them into the studio to record.
Scarlett is practically hyperventilating as she takes in her surroundings and it goes downhill from there. Barely into the first verse of “If I Didn’t Know Better” she struggles, stops, starts again, stumbles, skips a line. It’s painful to watch and White mercifully puts her out of her misery by pulling the plug in the control room. Scarlett tearfully apologizes and flees; White suggests privately to Gunnar that he use another singer.
Scarlett’s untimely meltdown is caused by two things: unfamiliarity with the recording process (Headphones? Vocal booths? Weird-looking microphones?) and the significance of this particular studio. Like first-time Grand Ole Opry performers overcome with emotion in the sacred circle of wood where icons once stood, Scarlett is undone before she even begins when she realizes she is standing in the shadows of “Joe Cocker, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, these people all really recorded right here?” Oblivious to her insecurities, White confirms, “On this very spot.”
Episode three’s summary promised intense drama from the get-go: Rayna learns her family is facing financial ruin. Strumpet Juliette asks Deacon to write and tour with her exclusively. Juliette’s mother re-enters her life. ABC’s Nashville heats up!
Mama drama–and plenty of it–dominates this episode. Gasp! We learn that Rayna’s mother cheated on daddy Lamar with, of all things, a musician! What could be worse? Like mother like daughter, perhaps? Meanwhile, Juliette’s mama, Jolene, is like a bad penny; she just keeps turning up. Good thing Juliette has that fancy new perfume because her life really stinks at times. Stormy asks, “Where is Juliette’s grandmother? And what kind of woman names her little girl after one of the most famous vixens ever to grace a country song?”
By Steve Buchanan
Executive Producer of NASHVILLE and President, Grand Ole Opry Group
One of Nashville’s key characters never says a word, but tells a compelling and true story about one of the city’s most treasured musical landmarks—The Bluebird Café—and most revered crafts, songwriting.
Night after night, aspiring writers who have yet to score a cut lay the blood, sweat and tears of their best efforts on the line for what amounts to a peer review from colleagues who have been there, done that, and know what it takes. From just-got-to-town newbies to Nashville Songwriter Association Hall of Fame members, they’re each there to give their tunes a whirl in front of an audience that can literally reach out and touch the performer. Every available inch of space is utilized for seating—including the small elevated platform where Nashville viewers saw Scarlett and Gunnar make their debut as a duo in the first episode. On any given night there are only 20 tables in the room, and even counting in the bar stools and three old pews, the Bluebird reaches capacity at about 100 people.
The Bluebird opened in1982 at the same address where it remains today—in a small shopping center across a busy road from a much larger shopping center in an area of town about five miles from Music Row. Though much has changed around the Bluebird in the last 30 years, very little about this club has. A faded blue awning with The Bluebird Café in script marks the spot, and inside, signed B&W publicity photos are in the same place they were when they were first stapled there. Brad Paisley, Steve Earle, Faith Hill and Vince Gill are forever young on the walls of the Bluebird.
Just in time for Halloween, skeletons are about to start falling out of Rayna’s closet, and her past is sure to haunt the star of ABC’s newest hit Nashville. Episode two finds Rayna struggling with Nashville traffic only to discover that her nemesis, the coniving Juliette Barnes, is shooting her newest music video in the Music Row Roundabout. Stormy finds it appropriate that we find strumpet Juliette slithering amid the Musica statue. For those who don’t know, this particular work of art was quite controversial when first unveiled in Music City several years ago. The beautiful statue (in the eyes of most) features nine naked dancing figures. Stormy recalls the day when it caused quite a stir. A bit of foreshadowing, perhaps? Indeed, Juliette will prove to be controversial. And, by mid-episode, she was already naked with Deacon as an afternoon songwriting session down by the river turned into a skinny-dipping session there too. Dang that Deacon; he’s simply powerless against a cute blonde who drives a pickup truck and drops $50,000 heirloom guitars as gifts.