Finding Deacon Claybourne: Highlights of our ABC Nashville Tour

Deacon Claybourne aka Charles (Chip) Esten

“Excuse me, do you know where Deacon’s…” That’s all I could say before the two girls on the sidewalk squealed and ran to our car excitedly talking over each other, “We know where you are going. It’s around the corner, the lights are all on, you can see the trucks outside. They’re filming! We just left there.” Ok, that wasn’t what we were looking for, but a cool surprise. We chatted Nashville for a second or two, and then headed around the corner. They indeed were filming. We posed our original question to the crew, “Where is Deacon’s House?” “619 Boscobel St.,” said one of the ABC Nashville crew. She had been asked this before.

Finding Deacon Claybourne: Highlights of our ABC Nashville Tour

The Men of Nashville Songwriter's Series
The men of Nashville – actors and the musicians who write and help produce the songs.

It seems we were not the only ones with the idea of finding Deacon Claybourne on a weekend trip to Music City based on the hit ABC television series Nashville. According to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, 55 percent of leisure travelers to Nashville had seen the TV show. Of those, 43 percent said it made them more inclined to visit the city, and 18 percent said the show was the motivating factor in planning their trip. Here’s a few of the highlights of our 36-hour whirlwind ABC Nashville Tour.

Finding Chasing Deacon Claybourne

Deacon Claybourne's House
Sitting on the front porch of Deacon Claybourne’s house with our new friends.

After getting the address to Deacon’s house, we thanked our informant and headed back the way we came, slowing down when we saw our new friends walking down the street. “Hey, we yelled. We know where Deacon’s house is, get it,” adding off handedly, “we aren’t creepy.” There was a split second of caution, but only a split second. Off we went, four new friends, to stalk a make believe country star. You can actually stay in Deacon’s house. It’s on Airbnb for $449 a night.

Meeting the Men of Nashville

Chasing Deacon ClaybourneNothing brings the teenager out in you like a red carpet full of the good-looking guys you watch every week on TV. And ladies, I can tell you, they are all just as good looking in person as they are on TV. Front row on the red carpet for the Men of Nashville Songwriter’s Series at the Country Music Hall of Fame was definitely a highlight of our trip.

I would have been more reserved. Given them their space. Been fine with just a smile. But my partner in crime Desiree was chomping at the bit to interview them. Take a picture. So as you can see, it really wasn’t me. It was her. But I couldn’t let her go it alone. I had to jump in with a few questions, a selfie, maybe two…or three.

Wake Me Up in Nashville: Stories from the Men of Nashville

The best part of our evening with the Men of Nashville wasn’t the “Jealous!” comments on my Facebook wall when I posted a photo, arm-in-arm with Chip Esten (Deacon Claybourne on Nashville). It was listening to these guys cut up with each other on stage, share their stories and their music. Our favorite was Sam Palladio’s (Gunner Scott) story about his grandfather’s one-time love in Nashville. He met her in Pensacola while training to be a pilot during WWII. She was from Nashville. On his way to being shipped out, the train made a very early morning stop in the town. The two sweethearts made a date to meet on the train platform. His Grandfather tipped the porter to wake him up in Nashville, but the porter forgot, and he never saw the women again. As we reached for our tissues, Sam quipped in his English accent, “It has a happy ending though, he met my Gran.” Sounds just like a country song doesn’t it?

The Guitar Room on the set of ABC’s Nashville

Guitar Room on ABC's Nashville
A message from Deacon Claybourne in the guitar room backstage on the set of ABC’s Nashville

“So, you’re Connie Britton. THIS is your ride into work. Kinda not what you would think,” said my friend Desiree as we drove through the non-descript industrial area to the set of ABC’s Nashville for a tour. The security guard, an older, regular Nashville guy stopped us for a joke or two, and I wondered if Connie Britton had already heard all of his comedic poweress. We walked through Juliette’s shower, examined Maddie’s teenage bedroom, and hung out in Rayna’s kitchen. But the real treat was meeting Danny Rowe. Danny oversees the instrument room on set. If they can’t find the actors, this is the first place they look. Danny has guitar’s from all over and he knows the back story for each one, just like a proud parent. My favorite part of the room, in addition to the custom drum covers for the ficticious Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes, was the very real life note from Charles (Chip) Esten saying “Stolen by Chip! (In my trailer)” referring to one of Danny’s guitars. Here’s an interview with Chip where he mentions his guitars.

The real Men of Nashville at The Bluebird Café

Bluebird Cafe Songwriters Series
Singer-songwriters Jason Mizelle, Steven Padilla and songwriter Mike Walker are the real deal doing an in the round show at the Bluebird Cafe. I can’t stop listening to Jason’s CD.

On the show Nashville, everyone plays the Bluebird. We visited the replica of the Bluebird Cafe on the ABC Nashville set, even making our debut on stage. We sang Country Roads. You can see the GM of the real Bluebird, Erika Wollam Nichols, on the show as a hostess. The set is so realistic in fact that after taping one day, Erika left to go to the bathroom, and headed for the back of the set, where the bathroom would be located in her restaurant!

Although the real Bluebird is a bit out of town in a non-descript strip mall, it’s well worth the drive. We listened to performers Jason Mizelle, who reminded us a bit of Avery Barkley, Steven Padilla, and songwriter Mike Walker. They told stories, sang songs, joked and laughed. It was a perfect evening, and a perfect way to end our Nashville adventure.

BBQ with a bit of Harmony

Jack's BBQ Pitmaster Peter Paul
Jack’s BBQ Pitmaster Peter Paul showing off delicious ribs. Too bad you can’t photograph that smell. Mmmmm

About four steps from the stage door of the historic Ryman Auditorium is the somewhat equally famous back door to Jack’s BBQ. Thrillist calls Jack’s the godfather of BBQ in Nashville. I tell you, if you could just video or write the smell of that place, you’d be hooked. As we walked in, we saw pitmaster Peter Paul pulling ribs out of the oven. I struck up a conversation with him and he was so nice that he even gave me a sample of the ribs, which OMG were awesome! Normally I like one of the many sauces available at a BBQ joint, but honestly, at Jack’s I liked all three, sweet through spicy. My love of Jack’s might also have to do with the fact that it’s next to Tootsies. As we sat on the back porch, we could hear the musicians playing at this iconic honky tonk.

More Highlights of our ABC Nashville Tour

We had so many highlights to our 36-hour tour that I can’t include them all here. It truly was an amazing and wonderful trip. If you go, be sure to take a tour of Historic RCA: Studio B, the home of 1,000 Hits, where Elvis, and other famous acts recorded, and the Hatch letterpress store. Hatch is the company that makes the letterpress posters for the country acts. If we’d had time, I’d have liked to take a tour of the shop where they teach you the history of letterpress and the company, as well as let you try your hand at printing.

For more on our trip to Nashville and a #Nashies Tour for everyone, visit our post on A Nashies Tour of Nashville, or these posts:

On the Set of ABC’s Nashville
6 Things to do in Nashville in 24 Hours

About Sue Rodman 174 Articles
Sue Rodman is the mom of 3 boys and publishes Field Trips with Sue, an award winning family travel blog about the Southeast and fun places to visit from the Southeast, covering outings, day trips, weekend getaways and family vacations. Field Trips with Sue is a Nickelodeon Parent’s Pick Winner, a Red Tricycle Best Family Travel Blog and a best blog nominee. Sue has been interviewed on Family Travel in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Northside Neighbor, Publix Magazine, and on all three major networks. For four years, Sue produced a Field Trips with Sue travel segment for CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, and has filled in for the host of WXIA Friday Freebies. Sue offers inside information about must-see Atlanta attractions and more in her popular book “100+ Free Things to do in Atlanta.”

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