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‘The Music of Nashville: Season 1, Volume 1′ – Album Review

Nashville Soundtrack
Big Machine Records

Without the expressions and the palpable tension between characters, songs from ‘Nashville‘ lose their edge. Flaws otherwise hidden by the drama step forward to dilute your favorite moments from the ABC drama.

Connie Britton’s (Rayna James) performance on the soundtrack is the most vulnerable to criticism. Her vocals on ‘Buried Under’ are flat and flavorless. Later in the disc, she adds more emotion to ‘No One Will Ever Love You,’ a duet with Charles Esten, but it still sounds like an actress doing her best to sing instead of a true country vocalist.

On at least one occasion, she’s stuck with a lousy song. It was easy to pretend ‘Wrong Song’ had hit capabilities when it debuted on ‘Nashville’ in November, but in truth, radio programmers would pass on the song like it was Britney Spears‘ country debut.

Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes) is more believable as a singer. ‘Undermine,’ her duet with Esten (Deacon Clayborne) feels like the throwback it’s intended to be, and ‘Telescope’ is holding up alongside other hits on country radio. Fans of this song will appreciate Lennon and Maisy Stella’s cover of the song on the ‘Nashville’ soundtrack. The girls — who play Rayna James’s daughters — turn in the second best performance on the record.

The star of this project is Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor). ‘If I Didn’t Know Better’ is the best song to come from the show, and the Australian — who plays a forever flustered southern girl — proves she is a natural in front of the microphone. Her charming voice carries ‘When the Right One Comes Along,’ another album highlight.

A couple of songs stick out on this mostly moody collection of tracks. Esten’s ‘Sideshow’ is a throwback — maybe too much so. However, it and the punk-rocker ‘Twist of Barbwire’ (sung by Jonathan Jackson) are far from amateur. Both jolt one away from the drama created by the female singers, but more than earn their keep on the ‘Music of Nashville’ soundtrack.

2.5 Stars

Next: See Hayden Panettiere as a Young Girl

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