Americana Powerhouse Rhiannon Giddens to Join the Cast of 'Nashville'

Former Carolina Chocolate Drops member also sings with Eric Church on his new single "Kill a Word"

Singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens will join the fifth season of 'Nashville' in the role of Hanna Lee Jordan. Credit: Gus Stewart/Redferns

When the long-running musical drama Nashville makes its fifth-season debut on CMT early next year, there'll be a new cast member – one who is already familiar to fans of the postmodern string band Carolina Chocolate Drops. Rhiannon Giddens, co-founder of the Grammy-winning group, will have a recurring role as Hanna Lee "Hallie" Jordan, a young social worker with "the voice of an angel."

The musician, who made her solo debut in 2015 with the LP Tomorrow Is My Turn, is also heard (along with Andrea Davidson) on Eric Church's powerful new single "Kill a Word." She's currently working on her own second album, to be released next year. Giddens has previously appeared in musical roles on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, as well as the series finale of NBC's Parenthood and the 2007 feature film The Great Debaters.

Nashville's two-hour premiere is set for January 5th at 9:00 p.m. ET on CMT, with a slate of 22 episodes scheduled. After weeks of speculation, it was revealed that Golden Globe nominees Connie Britton (Rayna Jaymes) and Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes), would return for the upcoming season, although Britton will reportedly leave the series after appearing in just 10 episodes. As previously announced, Will Chase (Luke Wheeler) and Aubrey Peeples (Layla Grant) are not returning for Season Five.

After premiering on CMT, each episode will be available for streaming on Hulu the following day. Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (creators of the Emmy-winning series thirtysomething) have taken over as showrunners and executive producers.