"Deacon has formidable competition in Luke," Charles Esten says

By Charles Esten
September 25, 2014 06:45 PM
Credit: Kris Connor/Getty

Every week, a member of the Nashville cast will blog about the latest episode on ABC. This week, it’s Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne) weighing in on the season premiere, which included both a live performance by the actor of a song he wrote with singer-songwriter Deana Carter ("Strawberry Wine") as well as some momentous developments in the Deacon-Rayna-Luke love triangle.

The song I sang live, “I Know How to Love You Now,” has a cool little story.

It all started when I bumped into country music artist Deana Carter flying back and forth to Los Angeles. She knew me because her kids watch Jessie [Esten’s old Disney Channel show,] and I knew who she was because she’s Deana Carter. We kept threatening to write something together and we made good on that threat toward the end of last season.

The song sounds like it was written for Deacon and Rayna (Connie Britton) but at first it wasn’t.

As songwriters, you collect little bits and pieces so I thought, what would it be like when a guy finally understands? I had this title, “So Many Sorrys Ago.” Deana said let’s make that a lyric. When [Nashville creator] Callie Khouri was writing the final episode of the second season, she told me Deacon was going to propose to Rayna and asked if there was anything I’d like to say. I told her we wrote this song called “I Know How to Love you Now.” She wrote that into Deacon’s proposal in the kitchen.

[Then over the summer] Callie and the showrunner called to say they wanted me to sing “I Know How to Love You Now” in the first episode. And oh yeah, they wanted me to do it live!

I loved how they showed in flashbacks those moments for Rayna when things were very bad and when Deacon hurt her. That laid it out pretty convincingly for why she didn’t choose him. I love the fact that Deacon has strong competition in Luke (Will Chase). He’s no slouch. He’s formidable competition.

The one thing about Luke is that he is pretty showy. The difference between our two proposals was that one was in a stadium with the Hope diamond, and the other was in a kitchen with a tiny little band. But that speaks to the two guys. That’s why it’s so interesting to watch her choose.

When I was live on stage, there was that montage where you you can tell Rayna was happy, but when she was alone you can also tell she was thinking about Deacon. It wasn’t as easy as she thought. That’s what makes Connie Britton so great. She can put that exact look on her face.

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

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