The TV show Nashville might be ending, but at least one of the actors on the series will stay in Music City. Charles Esten, who plays singer Deacon Claybourne, says he and his family, including his wife, Patty, and three children, have found their permanent home in Tennessee.
"When I first got to Nashville it was like coming home to a place I'd never been before," Esten tells CMT.com. "And it really felt like that immediately. I think a lot of it is growing up in Virginia and Pennsylvania — the green and the rolling hills — it felt very familiar to me. Then there are the people. They just welcomed us immediately. We knew more people on our street here in a day a half than we did in 15 years in L.A. And that's just the nature of Nashville."
Esten, who was already dabbling in singing and songwriting while living in California, had long been trying to find a way to fulfill his musical ambitions in Nashville, even before he was offered the role on the TV show.
"It was a strange imbalance in that I loved [music] more than I was getting to do it," he shares. "It ended up taking a backseat for so long that it's a thrill that it gets to be right up front now and always will."
Now that he's been able to combine his love of acting and music, the 52-year-old has found a new purpose and focus in his life, which is perhaps the best gift Nashville gave him.
"I'm never going to step back from music anymore," Esten insists. "As we wrap up the show here, I don't have any idea what I'll do in terms of acting. That relies on other people, what projects they might want me for and what I might be able to land as a role. It's going to have to be something good.
"I've been spoiled with this guy that's been loved, hurt and grown so much," he adds. "That's all you can ask for in a character. There probably won't be anything similar. But while I'm waiting for something that moves me, I get to make music, and that is no consolation prize. That is everything to me."
Esten is definitely open to more acting roles in the future, but for now, especially considering the warm welcome he and the rest of the cast have received, all roads will point back to middle Tennessee.
"With my love of music and making music, Nashville is the place to be," Esten maintains. "Events that we get to go to and get to be part of — the songwriting community, the recording industry and all the people — how can you imagine living anywhere else? It's hard to say where acting will take me. Sometimes you've got to go to shoots, but in the end, this will always be home. And I'm real happy to say that. It means a lot to me."
Esten released a new single every week for a year, as part of his Every Single Friday initiative. He also spends plenty of time on the road performing, with a few shows on the calendar with his good friend and fellow Nashville castmate, Clare Bowen. More information, including music purchase and upcoming shows, can be found on Esten's website.
Season 6 of Nashville will begin on Jan. 4 on CMT.
Photo Credit: Instagram/Charles_Esten