Album Reviews

The Music Of Nashville – Season Six – Volume One – Review

It is a bittersweet time for Nashies’s at the moment. Nashville – the much loved TV show has had its last day of filming, the cast have had their farewell celebration and the farewell tour has wrapped up.

What a six years it has been though, even people who aren’t fans of country music have come to embrace and adore this show, its characters, its stories and its glorious music. The cast have been sensational and we, the fans have been along for every step of the ride and it’s pretty tough to let it go and say goodbye.

One thing that this show has brought in such a magnificent way is its music and that music has not just been performed on the show by actors but by actors who are also musicians which has made every performance even more believable. This is part one of what is to sadly be the last ever soundtrack to the last ever series of Nashville. From day one the music of Nashville has moved us, captivated us, made us laugh, made us cry, related to us and brought great memories of episodes and made us fall in love with the characters that little bit more.

Season Six – Volume One for me is quite emotional, not just because we know it’s nearing the end but sonically it is really quite emotional throughout.

The soundtrack starts with Hayden Panettiere singing Is There Anybody Out There. The song has an hauntingly beautiful melody and vocal which feels quite sad with its quite dark and emotive style. It sounds almost as if Juliette has given up, her vocals make her sound so lost and it makes the song painful to hear in a good way.

Sam Palladio sings the track Never Come Back Again which has a strong folk feel which suits both Gunnar and Sam well. I really like this song as the lyrics have that sort of longing that Gunnar feels. The folk element to the song blended with the gorgeous traditional country instruments produce a really well written song that is worth recognition beyond a soundtrack.

Lennon Stella has really come into her own over the years both as Maddie and in her personal life and we, the audience have seen her grow from a amazingly talented child into a beautiful and individual artist. As much as I adore Lennon and Maisy singing together, It is nice to hear both separately in these most recent seasons. What It’s Made For shows the pop side to Maddie and a good indication of what musical direction Lennon may take in the real world. The song is hypnotic and quite trip hop and not too dissimilar from the kind of music you would hear from artists such as Massive Attack and Tricky.

Clare Bowen has always been a vocal delight on these soundtracks –  her quirky and sweet vocals are always welcoming to the ears and one think Clare does perfectly is making you believe every word she sings. This song is no exception as Clare performs as Scarlett, the lost soul who often has identity issues. Scarlett has moved us since day one and has been a brilliant representation of just how serious mental health issues can be and she translates this beautifully in both her acting and in her music. The writers of this song Ain’t No Normal (Caylee Hammack, Daniel Travis Meadows) have delivered a song that captures everything that country music is about, emotion, storytelling and impacting.

Moving on to the second Stella sister Maisy. Maisy’s role as Daphne has never been more important as it has this season. Not only is Daphne coming of age and trying to discover who she is as an individual and as an artist but she has also lost her mother (Rayna) her companion and her closest friend. Watching Daphne’s character has been painfully sad this season so to hear her sing solo was very significant. In my opinion, Maisy is the stronger singer of the two and holds much more honesty and emotion in her voice and listening to and watching her almost ignored vulnerability has been the saddest part of this season for me. Daphne is the younger sibling that no one understands and this stunning and heartbreaking ballad Come And Find Me really shows her desperation for help and her longing for not just her mother but for attention and comfort.

A more maturer sound for Juliette’s character comes in the form of I Always Will which is written by Thomas Finchum, Gabe Scott and one of my favourite artists Mindy Smith. As everything that has Mindy Smith’s name on, this song is breathtakingly beautiful and is one of those rare moments where Juliette willingly shows her vulnerability and she reasly opens up at the beginning of this season with her new found religion and compassion which starts to develop into a more darker turn. The song has a church music style which of course is fitting with her character this season.

I never warmed to the character of Hallie, I am not sure why but I just never did. Rhiannon Giddens however is a sensational musician and any fan of Carolina Chocolate Drops will love the songs chosen for her character. There is no denying that Rhiannon has an exceptional vocal and she brings a natural, story telling tone to her characters vocal which makes you curious of how much depth there is to her.  In a way it is sad that we won’t get to see the characters development with the show ending or get to discover much of Hallie’s past. Written by Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell, Rhiannon sings this beautiful, moving and inspirational song Wandering Roads and brings an Old-Time and roots music style to the show which was desperately needed in order to capture all the stylings of the music that Tennessee and beyond hold. Charles Esten lends his harmonies to this song.

Hold On (Not Leaving You Behind) – it is always good fun when Jonathan Jackson, Chris Carmack and Sam Palladio perform together but for this song they are joined by Rainee Blake who plays new character Alannah who is another character I wasn’t fond of. Seen as the possible “Yoko factor” character in the season so far (yet to see if she is good for the band or not) her voice does blend well with the boys in the song and the track is lovely and peaceful to hear.

Looking For The Light is sung by Charles Esten and also written by him alongside Dennis Matkosky and one of our favourites Charlie Worsham. Much like most of Nashville’s characters, Deacon has had quite the journey and this season he has a lot of responsibility with being a sole parent to his children, running a label and starting a new romance that he wasn’t quite ready for. Looking For The Light is perfectly written for Deacon. The lyrics speak of loss, unknown paths and confusion of direction. Despite his past, this season brings the best out in Deacon as he has had to find his own feet and strength and not for himself this time but for his daughters too.

Love is Loud is another Sam, Chris and Jonathan collaboration with the addition of Rainee. This song was I think their first live performance together as a foursome in the show and I felt like Chris’ character Will did, “Alannah took over”. The song is really good fun and uplifting and dang do I want the boys to release an album together in real life – what are we all going to do now without one of the most beautiful television bromances ever? Rainee has a great voice and I want to get to know her as an artist to get a more fair opinion and not be clouded by my judgment of her character on the show.

We get another sweet solo from Maisy Stella in Unravel. As I have mentioned before, I adore Maisy’s voice and I do think she is on her way to a brilliant music career. Maisy has so much depth to her voice and I can’t help but feel for her as a mother in many ways. This song was written by Tom Douglas and Maisy’s sister and mother Lennon and MaryLynne Stella who as a family, have their own band The Stella’s. Maisy has a voice beyond her years and I would love to see her stick to the storytelling side of music in her career, not necessarily country, although I would love that, I would just be happy to hear her sing relevant and meaningful music despite its genre.

The soundtrack ends with Charles Esten singing Face The Sun which is quite a powerful and inspirational song that builds sonically as it goes on which makes the song inspirational in just its melody alone. The writers are Ian Fitchuk, Ruston Samuel Kelly and Sarah Siskind, all of whom are well established and sought after songwriters in Nashville so there is no wonder that the standard of this song is so high.

Overall another fabulous soundtrack showing to all that the songwriters of Nashville are beyond exceptional and that country music has so much to offer beyond its stereotypes.

It’s the first volume of the last soundrack series of the last ever season and I am not sure how I feel about it ending. It’s just a show right? No, it’s more than that, it’s a feeling, it’s an era, it’s a moment and it will live on in not just our hearts but dang it our stereo’s too.



Categories: Album Reviews, Latest

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