Charles "Chip" Esten, who stars as singer Deacon Claybourne on the hit TV show Nashville, moved his family from the West Coast to Music City when he was cast in the ABC drama. The actor admits that he was a bit nervous about how he and the rest of the show's cast would be received in the music industry town, but he says that he has been pleasantly surprised by the warm reception.

"It’s theirs to open the doors, so that’s what I’m so grateful for," Esten tells The Boot. "It’s not just me; it’s my whole family. This community opens their arms to all of us, and that makes us feel good. I don’t really have words for it, because that didn’t have to happen.

"We are, by the very nature of this whole thing, sort of outsiders. We came in the side door from Los Angeles," he continues. "They could have put their noses up a little bit, but they didn’t. They put their hands out."

Esten is passionate about the talent on Nashville, which is why he recruited his good friend Mark Collie to join the cast as Frankie, a recovered alcoholic who owns a bar that Claybourne offers to purchase.

"I have been a Mark Collie fan [for a while]," Esten reveals. "I got to meet Mark years ago: I believe he was on the road with Tanya Tucker, and he was at the Universal Amphitheatre, and I got to go back afterwards and say hi ...

"I’m a big Mark Collie fan, and when they were talking about who could play that role, I have to admit that I said, ‘Have you looked at Mark Collie?’ He and I happened to be writing around that time," Esten adds. "Lo and behold, he got on in there, and he landed that thing all by himself. He’s everything that I thought he would be. He’s the real deal."

Nashville airs on Wednesday nights at 10PM ET on ABC.

Country Stars Who Have Acted in TV Shows and Movies