Like most fictional characters in popular culture, the characters of ABC’s new drama Nashville are probably based more on stereotypes than real-life folks. But for fun, let’s see if we can’t match up who the real-life inspiration is for the principals of the Nashville cast, and through the experiment see if the show really does represent all aspects of the Nashville music scene.
Real Life Counterpart(s): Reba McEntire and/or Martina McBride
“Well you can kiss my decision as it’s walking out the door.”
Aging country pop queen concerned about her sagging skin has to worry about the kiddos running under foot and the budding buxom starlet on the rise trying to trample her career. On the outside she sticks to her principles, but on the inside she will do whatever she can to save her stardom.
Real Life Counterpart: Taylor Swift? No, girl from Dale Watson’s “Country My Ass”
“Oh, I’m always nice.”
Out of all of the Nashville characters, this is probably the one most based on a stereotype instead of an actual person. The creators of the show have said Juliette is not supposed to be Taylor Swift. Swift is seen as the proper, good girl who doesn’t use Auto-tune, while Juliette Barnes nails anything she can to get ahead except the proper note. The mold that fits Juliette Barns perfectly can be found in a Dale Watson song. “She can’t sing a lick, and in a bucket, she couldn’t carry her tune. She’s pretty as a picture, and she sure has a nice set of…wits. And she misses her producer that seduced her–I mean produced her a hit.”
Real Life Counterpart: Mike Curb
“That’s alright if you see me as your enemy. Don’t you be foolish enough to make that a two-way street. ‘Cause my enemies don’t fare too damn well.”
Just like Mike Curb using the money he usurped from country music artists to spread his name all across Nashville under the guise of charity and civic duty, Lamar Wyatt wants a new baseball stadium and is willing to use his money and influence to appoint a puppet mayor of Nashville that he can use to run the city through behind-the-scenes. These old-guard aristocratic megalomaniacs are like two peas in a pod.
Real Life Counterpart: Caitlin Rose
“They’re just poems, not songs.”
A reluctant, timid songwriter that lacks nothing in talent either as a writer or performer, that when coaxed into action can rear back and command a crowd with both passion and skill.
Real Life Counterpart: Justin Townes Earle
“I guess I’m just naturally suspicious of anyone that confident.”
Long, lanky, a songwriter, and a gentleman (as opposed to the “punk country” Avery Barkley), he’s more Americana than country, symbolizing the new independent approach to Nashville that emphasizes artistic appeal and substance as opposed to commercial success.
Real Life Counterpart: Ryan Adams
“It’s kind of an alt-country punk, but more cerebral.”
Dangerous sideburns and a confident swagger, the chicks swoon over him and his bad boy persona and rock star attitude. But watch out, he’ll probably do them wrong.
Real Life Counterpart: David Rawlings
“I promise to not use it as a coaster.”
The consummate loyal sideman whose an excellent guitar player and an accomplished songwriter himself. A true music good guy whose willing to lurk in the shadows most of the time to allow good music to come to life. Whether there’s something romantic going on with the boss or not, it’s easy to assume there is.
Real Life Counterpart: A Young Scott Borchetta
“Take the money and run.”
Savvy, slick, new-school business man who Svengali’s a young starlet into signing with him so he can springboard to a seven-figure music executive career in the coming years. Glenn is a Scott Borchetta starter kit.