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‘Nashville’ Show Gets an A for Authenticity

Bob D’Amico, ABC

Even before the ABC drama series “Nashville” debuted last November, TV critics were unanimous in their praise of the show, with many calling it the best of the new fall season. “Country-fried but never half-baked” featuring “Emmy-caliber performances” read one early review. Golden Globe nominations and an order for a full season of shows have followed, as the show has scored No. 1 ratings among adults ages 18-49 in its Wednesday night time slot, beating CBS’ hit drama, “C.S.I.”

Yet, for all of the praise “Nashville” had received there was a rather large group of viewers who would reserve judgment until they had seen at least one episode of the sudsy, music-filled series: Nashvillians themselves, especially those working in the country-music business.

The verdict? For the most part, “Nashville” gets it right. And for residents to be able to recognize so much of our fair city in each episode is great fun, right down to the Bluebird Cafe, which isn’t actually the real Bluebird but a meticulously-reconstructed facsimile you’d be hard-pressed to pick out from the original.

But what about the accents? Sticklers for such detail that we are, it’s nice to hear them done so well, representing — just as they should — the fact that Nashville is populated with a mix of natives and transplants from around the world, including cast members Sam Palladio (Gunnar) and Clare Bowen (Scarlett), who hail from England and Australia, respectively.

One of the comments we’ve heard most from colleagues in the industry is that the music featured on the series isn’t exactly what passes for the country music that we hear on the radio. In truth, many of the songs — especially those by Palladio and Bowen — fall more into the Americana format, a rootsier, less pop-rock driven format than what’s played at country radio. The soundtrack album, and indeed the show itself, however, do represent both sides of the coin. Credit music producer T Bone Burnett for making that happen and handling it all beautifully, giving us new music to enjoy as the perfect accompaniment to all the high drama each week.

And what else is there to say about the resplendent Connie Britton and the multi-faceted Hayden Panettiere? They are the two brightest spots in a cast that is quickly establishing itself as the best ensemble on television today. They’re making “Nashville” and Nashville look good!

Watch an Interview With Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio

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