Nashville's Charles Esten on Deacon's Return From Rock Bottom, Thoughts on Rayna/Luke

Nashville Season 2 Spoilers Charles Esten Deacon Rayna MaddieThere’s not much in life compelling enough to lure Nashville‘s Deacon, hand injured and spirit bruised, back behind a guitar.

Indeed, ever since the Season 1 finale car crash that left him impaired — and Rayna in a coma — the former band leader has barely touched the instrument that made him famous.

But in this week’s episode (airing Wednesday at 10/9c on ABC), Maddie decides she wants to get to know her biological father a bit better, so they bond over their shared love of six-strings.

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“The thing I really like about the writing is that [Maddie asks Deacon for] guitar lessons,” Charles Esten tells TVLine, adding hat Mr. Claybourne is quick to downplay the significance of the gesture.

“I go, ‘What? I’ve known her since she was a baby. I know how to play guitar. This shouldn’t be that difficult,'” Esten previews, laughing. “But that’s just kidding yourself that any relationship with any teenager — any kid at all — is going to be that easy.”

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Nashville Season 3 Spoilers Charles EstenNot to mention that Deacon having a relationship with Lennon Stella’s Maddie means he’ll definitely be in Rayna’s orbit, despite their agreement to maintain some distance. “We are both trying to do our very best by her,” he notes, “even if we haven’t done right by each other.” (On a related note, wondering how Deacon will react when he finds out that old pal Luke Wheeler has his eye on Rayna? “Well, that’s tough, because she’s made it clear that it’s not us right now,” Esten says. “And yet, there will always be something there, no doubt.”)

He adds that in the episode, Rayna also serves as a “catalyst”for what may be the next phase of her former lover’s career: “what happens when you can’t be that side man anymore — maybe you need to step up in front of that microphone. We explore that a lot in this episode,” particularly in comedic scenes involving Jonathan Jackson’s Avery. “He’s a little bit of my straight man.”

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Light moments with Avery? Sweet connections to Maddie? Can this be the same Deke who, just a few episodes ago, snarled “I”m nobody’s damn father!” at Scarlett in a prison vistors’ room?  “He’s coming around in a lot of different ways,” Esten says, previewing both a scene in which Deacon plays a slide guitar (which is much easier on his busted paw) and the possibility of a Maddie-Deacon duet.

“I was just as anxious as anybody, because you’re not going to find a bigger fan of [Stellas sister act] Lennon and Maisy than me. So that might be in the offing,” he says. “It’s real sweet that [Maddie] is part of the group that’s bringing Deacon alive again and back into the world.”