Love Ain’t Pretty, Charles Esten’s newly released independent debut album, has been more than a decade in the making. Fine-tuned by life and career experiences, like starring in ABC/CMT’s series Nashville (Esten portrayed country artist Deacon Claybourne), and being on the road with the sell-out Nashville The Reunion Tour, Love Ain’t Pretty has been a collective process for the actor-singer-songwriter.
On Jan. 26 at the EXIT IN, Charles Esten celebrates the release of "Love Ain't Pretty," his debut artist album after 30 years in entertainment.
By Joe Leyton for COWBOYS & INDIANS
And now, at long last, we have the first solo album from Nashville star Charles Esten.
Yes, you read that right: First solo album.
Sure, Esten has lifted his voice in song on a fairly regular basis throughout most of his decades-long show business career, going back to his 1991 breakthrough on London’s West End as star of Buddy, an exuberant stage musical about the legendary Buddy Holly. More recently, he was totally convincing and potently compelling Deacon Claybourne, the sexy and sensitive, troubled yet talented country star who loomed large in over 120 episodes of Nashville, the 2012-18 filmed-on-location series about dreamers and schemers in Music City.
For the first time in his career, Charles Esten is fully focused on music. But as the actor/singer details, his debut album, 'Love Ain't Pretty' is much more than another venture — it's a lifelong goal achieved.
Like many of his peers, Charles Esten has known music is his calling since he was a kid. But at 58, he's just now getting the opportunity to do what his contemporaries are long past: release a debut album.
As fans of the beloved ABC/CMT series "Nashville" or the hit Netflix drama "Outer Banks" know, Esten first established himself in the acting world. But as his "Nashville" role revealed, the actor also had some strong singing chops, too — and it wasn't a coincidence.
You should see this place, it’s beautiful / It’s every place we ever tried to find, is the opening line to Charles Esten‘s affecting track, “Somewhere in the Sunshine.”
Esten and songwriter Jon Nite painted a comforting, reassuring picture of the afterlife with this track. Though it’s relatively simple in scope, it packs a heavy emotional punch.