Making the Music of 'Nashville'

ABC relies on real-life Scarletts and Gunnars to create the sound of its prime-time soap.

Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett O' Connor (Clare Bowen) play aspiring songwriters on ABC's "Nashville," which culls its original music from real-life Nashville artists.

Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett O' Connor (Clare Bowen) play aspiring songwriters on ABC's "Nashville," which culls its original music from real-life Nashville artists.

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Indeed, Scarlett and Gunnar write in a folksy Americana style. Rayna sings the mainstream country that reigned in the 1990s and 2000s while her sometimes-guitarist, sometimes-lover Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) gravitates toward a more traditional sound.

Young starlet and resident diva Juliette performs pop-y country hits. And Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson), Scarlett's rocker ex-boyfriend, is being involuntarily pushed to an electronic-dance direction by his hot shot producer (Wyclef Jean).

"You have people that are at various stages of their careers and you have people that also have different style," Buchanan says.

While playing an integral part of the plot, the music of "Nashville" has risen to stand on its own. Most of the original music goes up on iTunes and other music services the day after a new episode airs. "You get a report card every Thursday morning. If audiences like a song, they're buying it on iTunes," Soler says.

ABC.com also hosts the Music Lounge, where it posts videos called "On the Record" that showcase some of original songwriters alongside the producers who found the song and the actors who sing it. (Here is the "On the Record" video for "Casino").

Weighing the kind of feedback they get from iTunes and the Music Lounge, the ABC music team works with its label partner Big Machine Record (whose other artists include Swift, Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts) to pick out which songs make it to the final album – the first of which was released in December. A second is set to drop May 7.

There is also speculation of a "Nashville" tour that would feature Palladio, Bowen, Esten and Jackson, who were all professional musicians before the show, though ABC would not confirm the rumors.

Whether or not ABC brings "Nashville" on the road, it will always thank the Tennessee city for its success. "We are so immersed in it," Buchanan says, of filming and working directly within Nashville. "We can work in the studio where people work and we can put on screen musicians and songwriters who really create the music and create the sound. It permeates the essence of the show."

"Nashville" airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday nights on ABC.

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