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Charles Esten Is Happy to Be Back Home in Tennessee

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Musician Charles Esten was greeted with cheers as he took the stage and based on his remarks he was just as happy to be back home playing to a live audience as his fans were happy to see him. September 18, 2021 was one of a two night engagement for Charles at the legendary Franklin Theater in Franklin, Tennessee. Although not born in the Volunteer State, Esten like many artists has taken up residency in the Nashville region.


Charles Esten plays the first of two in Franklin, Tennessee.

Charles "Chip" Esten is an actor, singer, and songwriter. Esten is best known for his roles as Deacon Claybourne on CMT's Nashville and as Ward Cameron on NETFLIX's Outer Banks. Charles' early TV credits include ER, Jessie, The Office and more. "Chip" continues to write and record music. In 2017, he earned a Guinness World Record for releasing 54 original songs (available on iTunes, and on Spotify) once a week, for 54 consecutive weeks. Charles is also an active Musicians On Call board member and volunteer who regularly performs for patients and caregivers in hospitals, hospice centers, and VA facilities.

On Saturday "Chip" shared the spotlight with Colin Linden a well-respected guitarist, producer and songwriter. Colin was the musical director on Nashville and he played acoustic, electric and slide regularly on the series. Songs from the program were showcased throughout the night as Esten pointed out that quite a few scenes from that TV show were filmed at the Franklin Theater. The revered venue has a long history that dates back to 1937.

Esten is a personable professional who spiked his performance with antidotes. Charles shared that his father was a salesman thus it was often feast or famine for their family so his dad was often "waiting for his ship to come in." The song inspired by that idea was about people pursuing their dreams - a relatable sentiment. Being thankful was another theme that Esten emphasized on Saturday and with that in mind he dedicated "Back In My Life Again" to the audience.


Mark Collie, Charles Esten, Keb Mo and Colin Linden made for a night full of surprises.

"I love Tennessee," declared Deacon before playing a newer song entitled "Tennessee Eyes". The tune like many of his originals was filled with rich imagery. With a nod to friendship Charles invited Mark Collie to join them. The two chatted about their time on Nashville then Mark alone played "Even The Man In The Moon Is Crying". The other two musicians returned as they all presented a rousing version of "Whole Lot Of Shakin Goin On".

After a short break the pair was back with more music where Esten continued to switch from guitar to piano. Charles mentioned that many of his dreams have come true including having one of his compositions covered by another famous artist. He continued that he had been given an opportunity to collaborate with Keb' Mo' but he was a bit taken aback when Mr. Mo' suggested penning a song about too much plastic in the ocean. Undaunted, they wrote a tune that was included on Keb's Oklahoma album which won a Grammy! Then, Esten introduced Keb' who aptly handled the leads on that track. Charles and Collin concluded the concert with a song of thanks that wished people a good life while acknowledging the current hard times.

The Franklin Theater is a welcoming room that continues to host a wide range of talents such as Charles Esten while upholding their "mission to provide world-class performing arts experiences to diverse Williamson County residents and visitors and to be a platform for local philanthropic engagement and education, while providing unparalleled guest service."


Charles Esten was happy to back on the road in 2021.

Related Links: For more information on CHARLES ESTEN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Charles Esten | Colin Linden | Franklin Theatre


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