Nashville Cast

The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Vol. 2

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The music in ABC's musical television series Nashville hasn't worked as well onscreen in season two as it has in its previous season, which is perhaps due to more complex narrative lines. But that's the bad news. The good news is that the actual soiundtrack for Season Two, Volume Two may be the best batch of songs and performances that producer Buddy Miller has assembled yet. Part of the reason may be that the show's actors -- Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, and Charles Esten -- have grown much more comfortable with their dual roles as singers. Lennon and Maisy Stella were always dynamite -- check "Believing" and "Joy Parade" (with Esten), and "A Life That's Good" (with Britton and Esten) here -- all tracks stand out from the pack because of the deep reflection of country music's folk traditions inside thoroughly modern music. Contemporary country is falling all over itself trying to appropriate other musical genres inthe 221st century, and there are few places where that happens better than in "Come Find Me" by Bowen, which uses soul music's arrangement palette inside a country melody to excellent effect. Other highlights here include Panettiere's and Jackson's "Everything I'll Ever Need," with its Cajun music accents including a two-step accordion, Britton's and Panettiere's neo-traditionalist duet, "He Ain't Gonna Change," the moody pop in Bowen's "Black Roses," with its martial snare drums, and Panettiere's theme song for this season, "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet," which is a dead cross between '80s Bon Jovi and the pop-country of Sugarland. [The Deluxe Version contains four bonus tracks, including an orchestral version of the aforementioned tune, and Chaley Rose's stellar gospel tune "Carry You."]

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