“Nashville” Recap: Season 4, Ep 5


OK, guys…I’m really gonna try and do these recaps in a more timely fashion. My new goal is to post them on FRIDAYS.  I’m on the road with Little Big Town, so it’s gonna be a tall order, but I’m gonna try to do the recap on the plane on Thursday. Fingers crossed. To read how and why I got into doing these “insider recaps” of ABC’s Nashville, head on back to the first post.

What They Got Right:

1)Songwriter road trip to the Luke Wheeler show: It’s totally realistic that songwriters might head out to a nearby-ish (Atlanta is 4 hours away) show. Now the scenario is a little unusual, because it seems like Luke is just “trying out” the song, so as a songwriter, you probably wouldn’t be invited to the very first time an artist decides to play your song live. But songwriters definitely head out on the road to support an artist that they write with, or have had cuts with.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.57.40 AM

Also, a lot of times songwriters will take in a show that’s nearby to get a better understanding of what the artist is about— especially if they are prepping for a co-write with the artist. Sometimes writers even come out on the road to write with an artist or band. Oftentimes they’ll hop on the bus with the artist, or their publisher might send them on their own bus for the trip, and the goal is to write with the artist during their down time on the road.

2)Backstage at the Atlanta show: While all the details may not be perfect, overall I think the show does a really god job depicting backstage, and side stage scenarios at concerts. I think they get the energy, hubbub and general feel right. This totally looks and feels like an arena show to me. Because many of the arenas where these shows take place are used for sporting events, there’s usually a very clinical feel to the main backstage areas. The stripes on the wall and the painted cement blocks make this feel dead on. Also, the road cases and gear everywhere looks believable to me.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.47.11 AM


3)This isn’t really a “what they got right” but how great is Juliette in this dress!? I’d really like to convince the Nashville  show stylists to work with me, and supply credits on what the cast is wearing. Overall, I’m not sure that the female cast really dresses all that much like real female country acts do…but I do LOVE the fashion aspect the show.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.44.17 AM


1)Rayna gives Layla, production notes on her album. Label heads do not usually give in depth creative feedback on the making of a record. At least, this is not the case at Universal, which is the only label home I’ve had. The A&R team (which stands for artists and repertoire) weighs in on song choice, and might have general production conversations with the artist about the overall sound of a project. They might weigh in on the choice of a producer, but I do find it unlikely that anyone from the label would be having such a detailed conversation about instrumentation.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.02.13 AM


(A little bit about what the process has been like for me.) In the making of my latest record (which isn’t out yet) the SVP of A&R, Brian Wright, and VP/A&R Autumn House spent a ton of time with me personally. I changed producers in 2013 and they were a big part of me getting approval for that, they were also very supportive of the creative changes that I wanted to make as an artist. In my experience, these two team members listened to virtually every song I’ve written over the past 3 years, and also listened to outside songs (songs pitched to them by publishers) on my behalf. For me, the decision on what songs to cut for the album has been made as a group: me, my manager, my producer, A&R,  and at the very end of the process, the label head, Mike Dungan.

Obviously, since Rayna is an artist/musucian herself, it might make some sense that she would weigh in musically on the production, but this level of involvement would be highly unusual for ANYONE from the label. And a conversation like this wouldn’t happen without the producer. If they were really making such specific musical changes to the songs, the producer would be in the conversation to help facilitate how best to make those changes. He/she is the person what would be implementing the changes, so it just makes sense that they would be in the room.

2)Juliette’s dressing room at the arena: Juliette’s dressing room set up is VERY VERY GLAM. As I mentioned it the “What they got right” section, the show does a pretty good job depicting backstage at an arena show. But this is way off. This level of set up and glam is not happening on anybody’s tour…at least in country music. (I can’t speak for the pop world.) And Juliette is depicted as a support act (not the headliner,) so I just have a hard time believing her dressing room would look ANYTHING like this. As I mentioned, these arenas have some nice backstage rooms, but a lot of times those rooms would be for the headliner. AND, a lot of the dressing rooms are actually locker rooms….because these spaces were often built to house sports teams. So they’re gonna look a lot more like a really really nice locker room than a swanky hotel lounge.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.50.30 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.49.48 AM

I’m gonna have to talk about the whole private plane vs. tour bus thing at some point…but it’s gonna be a long post, so I may put it off. Suffice it to say that I think overall the show under emphasizes how much time is spent on a tour bus. Far far more time is spent on a tour bus than is ever spent in private planes, hotels, or these super glammed up dressing rooms.

As a preview….here’s a little BTS tour that Miranda gave of her bus in 2014.

Now, many times there IS a “vibe room” set up backstage. Either as a place to entertain sponsors and VIPs or to host radio, etc…So there might be a cool, comfy room set up for this purpose, but like I said, I find the set up of Juliette’s dressing room more than a little suspect.

(And later when Juliette blows up at everyone in her dressing room, she fires one of the crew girls….crew would not be hanging out in her dressing room. Ever.)

3) Luke Wheeler’s conversation with the songwriters: I’m gonna “call your publisher in the morning and put a hold on the song.” WHAT? Nope. One, Luke would not be the person putting the song on hold—in most situations. Two, he probably wouldn’t be performing the song before he cuts it, but if he was, it would be on hold already…if they were remotely interesting in cutting it, the song would be on hold. Then later when  Will Lexington and Kevin Bicks are talking about the song Bicks says “we’re not giving it away, we’re getting paid to let Luke cut it.”  Not really. You don’t get paid when a song gets cut. You get paid months (or years) later when the royalties from the song’s sales and radio airplay get paid out.This is such a common misconception. I swear, my extended family still asks me questions like , “So Reba buys your song from you, and ….” Nope, songs aren’t bought when artists cut them. The artist doesn’t own them. The physical recording of the song is owned by the record company, and the copyright to the song (music and lyrics) is owned by the publishers and songwriters.

That’s all for this week loves! Is there something you want me to write about? Do you have specific questions about the show? Let me know in the comments section! Xx

1 Comment on “Nashville” Recap: Season 4, Ep 5

  1. Katy
    January 21, 2016 at 10:02 am (2 years ago)

    Kelleigh!! Now that I’m finally caught up with the show I’m catching up with your recaps. Love these!!

    I love hearing about how the writing and cutting, etc really works. This “hold” business is fascinating to me. Do the record cos have to put down any cash to “hold” a song? It seems like if they didn’t, you’d be at risk of someone just sitting on it perpetually? Also how does it work when a song gets cut by more than one person … That must be managed somehow, right??


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *