Over the course of the past 4 seasons, Nashville has given us over 100 songs and arguably some of the best music to ever come from a television show. When the show was infamously cancelled by ABC last May, many, including myself, thought we would never again hear the sweet sounds of the music of Rayna, Juliette and co. Luckily, after a historic fan campaign to save the show, CMT resurrected the Music City drama, and will premiere the highly anticipated 5th season on Thursday, January 5th. So in honor of the return of Connie Britton’s iconic hair to television, I’ve listed the 10 greatest songs to come from Nashville thus far!
10. “This Time” – Rayna Jaymes (Season 2)
As Rayna prepares to launch her new album, The Parts I Remember, in Season 2, she realizes she needs a strong lead single and turns to Deacon to help write it – leading us to this country-pop gem that becomes a Rayna staple. It’s a song that could have had a legitimate life on the radio and shows just how much of a country star Britton really can be.
9. “Black Roses” – Scarlett O’Connor (Season 2)
While Scarlett shines with Gunnar, she has had a few great solo moments, and this is the best. Written about (and sung to) her hard-to-deal-with mother Beverly, this song perfectly captures Scarlett’s pain and showcases one of Clare Bowen’s finest vocal performances on the show.
8. “When The Right One Comes Along (Wedding Version)” – Scarlett O’Connor and Gunnar Scott (Season 4)
The original version of this Scarlett and Gunnar duet can be found in Season 1, but it was given an updated treatment in Season 4 for Rayna and Deacon’s wedding. It perfectly underscores their wedding ceremony in a moment that was long coming and awaited for fans of the Nashville couple. It’s hard to not shed a tear seeing the pair finally tie to knot to this song after all they have been through in the 4 seasons leading up to this episode.
7. “Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet” – Juliette Barnes (Season 2)
After all but being disowned by country music, following a media manipulated outburst, Juliette’s label forces her to try and mend her relationship with the country music industry with a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Instead of sticking to the teleprompter though, she instead decides to perform a newly written song basically telling country music to shove it where the sun don’t shine. It is one of Juliette’s strongest songs, and a turning point for her music as she makes a drastic move away from the tween centric tunes she had been regaled to performing in the past.
6. “The Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts” – Rayna Jaymes (Season 2)
Rayna’s best tunes came from Season 2 and this was the first. After having to have a breathing tube as a result of the medically induced coma she had to be put in because of Season 1’s finale car crash, Rayna’s vocal cords were not what they use to be. Rayna spent a few episodes wondering if she would be able to ever sing again and only when she was unexpectedly asked to sing at Luke Wheeler’s telethon did she learn that her voice was indeed intact. This triumphant return to the stage gave us one of Britton’s best vocal performances on the show.
5. “Wrong Song” – Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes (Season 1)
Leading ladies Rayna and Juliette have only had two duets to date on Nashville, but their first is a classic. After their record label forces Rayna to sing with Juliette at the label’s 25th anniversary concert in efforts to help repair Juliette’s image after a series of public mishaps, the two put their petty differences aside and write this Nashville classic that brings down the house. Here’s hoping that Rayna and Juliette get another duet in the future, because they always bring it.
4. “Wake Up When It’s Over” – Scarlett O’Connor and Gunnar Scott (Season 4)
Scarlett and Gunnar always have some of the shows strongest songs, and this one is one of their best. Played at the end of the Season 4 premiere, this song perfectly underscores the disconnect most of the characters are feeling in their lives and careers at the end of this episode.
3. “Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again” – Juliette Barnes (Season 1)
One of Juliette’s best moments came in the form of this song in the Season 1 finale as she dealt with the aftermath of losing her mother from a drug overdose. It also underscored Rayna and Deacon’s infamous car accident and capped off an amazing first season. It is one of Panettiere’s best vocal performances on the show, her vocals shining on this ballad.
2. “If I Didn’t Know Better” – Scarlett O’Connor and Gunnar Scott (Season 1)
No list of the best songs of Nashville would be complete without the one that started it all. The very first duet between Scarlett and Gunnar in the pilot was the first moment we heard what amazing chemistry Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio had on screen and in the music. It’s the song that set up the entire series and still stands as their greatest duet
1. “This Town” – Deacon Claybourne and Scarlett O’Connor (Season 2)
My pick for Nashville’s No. 1 song comes in the form of this haunting ballad sung by Charles Esten’s Deacon and Clare Bowen’s Scarlett. It perfectly captures the trials and tribulations that new (and old) country artists face trying to have a successful career in the Music City. Bowen’s voice is haunting and impeccable on this track that has become a Nashville classic.
Well there you have it! While there are a plethora of amazing songs from Nashville, these 10 perfectly capture the spirit and heart of this amazing television show, and we are surely in store for many more hits as the show continues on CMT.
Nashville returns to television Thursday, January 5th at 9/8c on CMT.