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Grammy Winner Rhiannon Giddens Cast On Nashville Season 5!

Photo Credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones

A bit of casting news for CMT’s upcoming fifth season of the music city drama Nashville has been announced by Deadline. 

Singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens, who founded the Grammy award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, will play the character of Hanna “Hallie” Jordan.  Hanna is said to be a young social worker who turns out to have a voice of an angel.  The role is said to be recurring.

Excited about her first table read, Giddens tweeted a picture with co-star Charles Esten (Deacon), who she apparently fangirled over during his run on Who’s Line Is It Anyway?

The talented musician gained prominence following a performance at T-Bone Burnett’s (husband to Nashville creator, Callie Khouri) produced “Another Day, Another Time” concert at New York City’s Town Hall in 2013. Rhiannon played fiddle and banjo.  Her solo debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn was critically acclaimed.  She is currently working on her follow-up album for release next year.

So, what do you think of the casting news of Rhiannon Giddens to Nashville? Intrigued? Comment below!

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nancy dillingham

That girl can sing!

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

I’m not looking forward to ANY new characters at this point. I want the “Nashville” characters and stories I already love and look forward to continuing…the ones I was so disappointed about losing when the show was cancelled. So far Luke and Layla are out, Rayna’s on her way out and they’re already putting in unfamiliar faces. I’m getting less and less enthusiastic about this…

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Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Nashville

NASHVILLE Midseason Premiere: You Gotta Have Heart

On Thursday night’s Nashville midseason premiere: heartache, heartbreak, and heart damage were the order of the day.  Through the hour episode, the Nashville men took front and center stage through their emotional songs and their dramatic turns.  

Courtesy/CMT

We pick up right after Will (Chris Carmack) is rushed to the hospital after collapsing during The Chew performance in New York.  Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Alannah (Rainee Blake) learn from the doctor that their friend and bandmate is suffering from none other than a heart infection. The physician says, “Are any of you aware that he was using needles, injecting steroids?” Avery (Jonathan Jackson), and Alannah are stunned while Gunnar reveals that he knew about Will injecting himself once.  When Avery and Gunnar go visit Will in his hospital room, Gunnar is mad because he thinks it is “stupid” that Will did this to himself.

Will, as usual, sloughs it off and apologizes. But things don’t look good for Will. The doctor tells the country star to take it easy, and that he might need surgery, because there is something going on in his mitral valve in his heart. Will receives bad news; that he can’t play concerts or perform anytime soon.

When the news spreads through Nashville that Will has survived this heart scare, none other than Zach (Cameron Scoggins), Will’s ex, surprises him when Will is at home resting.  Zach gets a clue that Will’s steroid use may have something to do with the good-looking trainer, Mark, who he flaunted in front of his face when the two of them broke up.  As the two of them kind of flirt with each other, Zach mentions that Mark and him broke up, leaving a possible window of hope that Zach and Will might get back together again.  

Scarlett (Clare Bowen), who sees that Will is feeling sorry for himself, gives him a notebook and a pen and tells him to try to write a song about his feelings, even though Will protests that he is a showman, not a songwriter. But of course, in true Nashville fashion, Will comes up with an emotional song by the end of the episode, sung and played to perfection by Carmack.

As for Avery, is there anything cuter than Avery with his young daughter Cadence, while MIA mother Juliette (Hayden Panetierre) has once again put him in a position where he’s raising this child all by himself?  Meanwhile Alannah, who has slept with Gunnar, is very attracted to Avery. 

One night, after it appears that she hit the sack with Gunnar, she goes over to Avery’s to hang out for some drinking … dancing … and talking.  It is apparent that Avery enjoys her company, and she is clearly into him. Nothing happens between them.  They both fall asleep separately in the living room, and the next morning Avery thanks her for her support. 

However, a tabloid photo surfaces on Gunnar’s phone that says there’s a woman sneaking out of Avery’s house. When he sees that it is none other than Alannah, Gunnar is livid! He heads over to a rehearsal begging for a fight. They don’t have a fight, but instead, Gunnar gets hit in the nose by the band member’s guitar. The way it looks to us, maybe, just maybe, Gunnar and Will, who have been good friends, even though Gunnar hasn’t slept with a guy that maybe, just maybe, they could end up together?  After all, Gunnar and Will did kiss that one time.  Is this just wishful thinking, or could Nashville go down this road before its series finale?

As for Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten), who has been the epicenter of the show, since Connie Britton has departed, he has gotten himself caught in the middle and involved with Jessie (Kaitlin Doubleday) and her ex, Brad (Jeff Nordling). Brad is suing Jessie for full custody of their son. Deacon’s past of alcohol abuse and and fights don’t look good for them, and it’s tearing this possible new love affair apart.  Later, Jessie and Deacon profess they don’t want to lose each other.

Courtesy/CMT

However, the most poignant moment of the show happened when Maddie (Lennon Stella), who knocked back some booze during Jonah’s birthday week, showed up back at Deacon and Rayna’s home.  She’s defiant, and she wants to move out.  Deacon notices that she’s drinking water, looking dehydrated like she’s hungover from alcohol. 

He confronts her and says, “What the heck were you thinking?” She screams that she’s an adult, and she’s 18.  He says, “Not in this house you’re not!” She fires back, “Maybe I should move out!” As they’re both crying, and they begin to calm down. Deacon is fearful that he could pass the addiction gene of alcohol onto his daughter.  He reflects on how he lost so many years with Rayna, and so many years with his daughter, and that he doesn’t want Maddie to make the same mistakes as he did.

At the end of the episode, seeing how her sister, Daphne (Maisy Stella) is broken up over the fact that she doesn’t want Maddie to move out, she ends up in bed hanging out with her dad and her sister, and they hug it out now she’s going to stay, and not leave the nest.

So, what did you think about midseason premiere of Nashville?  Did it have a lot of heart? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Nashville

NASHVILLE: What’s Next? The Final 8 Episodes Set To Begin!

After ‘Nashies’ hung on to their favorite primetime soap opera through its cancellation by ABC, its series star departing the series, and the news that CMT has made it official that this sixth and final season would be its last, viewers will learn how it will all end for some of their favorite characters as the final eight episodes begin to air starting tomorrow on Thursday June 7th at 8PMEST.  The series finale airs this summer on Friday, July 26.

Creator Callie Khouri speaks on the latest developments, and what’s next for the characters she created in a new video teaser launched this week from the cable network.

For General Hospital fans, they have watched multi-Daytime Emmy winner Jonathan Jackson (Ex-Lucky) as Avery Barclay.  Avery has been the main love interest for Juliette Barnes, played by Hayden Panettiere.  As the season heads towards its finale, Avery seems to have taken a liking to Alannah, while Juliette is immersed and trying to get the goods on the cult she finds herself in.  Will she make it back to Avery before he falls head over heels for someone else?

Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) suffered a medical disaster after overdoing his steroid use.  What will be the consequences of his actions?  Deacon’s father comes into the equation and old wounds will surface and we will learn more about why Deacon (Charles Esten) is the way he is.

In an interview with TV Insider, Charles Esten side-stepped the question if Rayna James (Britton) would be seen somehow in flashbacks, as a ghost, or something else?  All he would coyly say is: . “Of course, fans want to know.  I wanted to know too before the scripts came out, and now I do, and you soon will. How good was that?”

Watch the latest teaser for the final episodes of Nashville below!  Then let us know: what you think will happen to Deacon, Juliette, and Avery?  And, now that Nashville has concluded, do you hope Jonathan Jackson comes back to GH to reprise his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below.

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