The Grammy winner, guest starring as himself, performs with Rayna and Deacon at the CMA Awards in the show's finale

By Tim Nudd
Updated May 01, 2013 03:10 PM
Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC

A real-life country star is coming to Nashville.

Brad Paisley will make a special guest appearance as himself on the season finale of the ABC drama – and PEOPLE has the first photos from the set.

The Grammy winner, 40, will perform with Connie Britton and Charles Esten’s characters, Rayna and Deacon, at the CMA Awards during the episode, which airs May 22.

The appearance isn’t just another gig for Paisley – it’s a family affair. His wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, is a regular on the series, playing the mistress of Rayna’s soon-to-be ex-husband Teddy.

The "Accidental Racist" singer is the first high-profile non-fictional musician to perform on the show, which producers have long insisted would not be a forum for regular cameos by country stars – although it has featured plenty of lower-profile musicians.

“We’re focused on our cast of real country artists – it’s not a guest show; the fabric of Nashville is the fabric of our show,” R.J. Cutler said in January. “The musicians in the pilot are real Nashville musicians who are greatly respected there and known by country music people there.”

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