Though actor and singer Charles Esten may be best known for playing Deacon Claybourne on CMT’s Nashville, the music doesn’t end for him when the cameras quit rolling.
Esten is wrapping up more than a year of a project he called “Every Single Friday,” releasing a new song every week to streaming services. He started the process in July 2016 with the song “Through the Blue,” not really putting a definite time limit on the endeavor, and recently passed his 52nd and 53rd weeks with “Long Haul” and “I’m Coming Home,” respectively. A 54th offering will be the final in the series. It was a wildly ambitious undertaking – one Esten felt he had to see through after tweeting about it to his followers.
“I’m one of those guys that can sometimes get caught in the paralysis of analysis. I overthink it. And therefore I don’t do it,” he says. “So I think there’s another part of me from inside that made me just lift up a cell phone and stand there and go, ‘I am putting out a brand new single every week until I don’t.'”
Thankfully, he had several of the songs written and a few recorded – enough to get started, anyway – but had to maintain a brisk pace of writing and recording (he co-produced all the releases) just to have something else to release when the next Friday rolled around.
“I could have told you that I was a committed songwriter and performer before this and maybe you would have believed me, or maybe not. I could have told myself that and maybe I would have believed me or maybe not,” he says. “And now I don’t think there’s any denying it, even to myself. I look back, and as much work as you think it was, it was more than that.”
Esten celebrated the accomplishment with a free concert last night (July 20th) at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, noting that he’d never be able to play all of the songs in one sitting. Plus, “Every Single Friday” represents a wide range of styles and it’s more important for Esten to show that.
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“Medleys don’t make sense for a lot of these because medleys make sense when people know the songs very well,” Esten says. “I just wanted to choose the ones that represented … the country genre.”
Esten returns to the road with his Nashville compatriots this weekend, hitting Hard Rock Live in Orlando on June 23rd.