This Wednesday, ABC airs Nashville: On the Record (10/9c), a one-hour performance special featuring members of the cast – including Ms. Barnes’ portrayer, Hayden Panettiere — and various songwriters who’ve contributed tunes to the musical drama.
TVLine talked to Dawn Soler, senior vice president of ABC TV music, to get a preview of what you’ll see on stage. Read away, and rock on.
WORSHIP AT THE ‘MOTHER CHURCH’ | Performances for the special were shot in front of a live audience at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, nicknamed the “Mother Church of Country Music,” a venue often used in the show. Interview segments were filmed backstage and at the show’s Bluebird Café set; executive music producer Buddy Miller figures prominently in both locations.
SHINY AND NEW | Though the special follows the format started by the ABC series’ Web venture On the Record and covers some songs already featured online, the footage in Wednesday’s event is all new.
TAKE A BOW | Nashville cast members taking part in the hour include: Charles Esten, Hayden Panettiere, Chris Carmack, Aubrey Peeples, Will Chase, Jonathan Jackson, Chaley Rose, Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen.
UNSUNG HEROES | Many of the behind-the-scenes folk who wrote your favorite Nashville jams – like “Nothing in This World” and “This Town” — get a moment to shine alongside the show’s cast during the hour. “In a lot of cases, the songwriters were either playing instruments or backing [the actors] up vocally,” Soler says. The talented group of tunecrafters includes Striking Matches’ Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis, Sarah Buxton, Kate York and Lucy Schwartz.
THE SETLIST | Performances include “It’s on Tonight,” “Nothing in This World,” and “I Ain’t Leavin’ Without Your Love,” among others – and Soler says choosing from the series’ evolving soundtrack wasn’t easy. Her team weighed fan favorites (evidenced by download numbers and Web buzz) against performer/songwriter availability. “It was really a little chess game of moving the pieces around and figuring out the right balance of Season 1 and this year,” she says. “That was probably one of the most complicated [aspects] of the show, actually.”
THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN | So what cuts have made the biggest impression on Nashville audiences, based on the numbers? Soler says Palladio and Bowen’s “If I Didn’t Know Better” from the series’ pilot “has been the biggest song of the show. And what’s interesting is, it continues to sell. It’s just that song that you want to hear over and over again.” Also popular: the Deacon-Juliette duet “Undermine” and Scarlett’s ballad-o’-pain “Black Roses,” which Soler says was the first song commissioned specifically for the series.