CHIP ON THE NEW BLOCK

CHIP ON THE NEW BLOCK

Charles “Chip” Esten definitely has “a life that’s good.”

Fans of the ABC-TV show “Nashville” crowded around the ABC Summer Block Party tent in Downtown Nashville on Saturday afternoon just to get a quick glimpse of Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne.

Erica Friedman, 28, from Bethesda, Maryland, tried to squeeze through onlookers to get as close as she could to the stage.

“He’s my favorite,” Friedman said. “Honestly, I love his voice, his songs and him and Rayna (Jaymes, played by Connie Britton).”

He played a couple songs, including “My Out Of The Blue,” and “A Life That’s Good,” which immediately triggered cheers for the “Nashville” star.

As Esten took a seat to begin his question and answer session, he gave a gracious hello to everybody who was squished around the area.

“Thanks to ABC for showing a little show called ‘Nashville’,” he said. “And thanks to all of you for coming out on this hot day!”

He talked a little bit about his career before “Nashville,” when he was a regular on the comedy improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” For him, though, the transition from comedy to drama was easier than for viewers.

“It was not tough for me, but tough for the people who watched me change,” Esten told the audience.

Esten also said being on the series has its many perks; he enjoys working with Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, as well as Eric Close, who actually plays his rival on the show.

“I met [Close] and I just thought, ‘Now that’s a nice guy,’” he emphasized.

Uprooting his home base from Los Angeles to Music City has been easier than expected as well, Esten told fans. He gratefully thanked citizens of Nashville for “welcoming my family” and helping them get accustomed to the area. Now that he considers the city his home, he loves to frequent Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar and The Bluebird Cafe, among other venues.

The quirkiest of questions even came into the conversations when he was asked about fans’ adoration of Deacon’s facial hair.

“I’m kind of lazy, so I found a role where I don’t have to shave that much,” admitted Esten.

But most people were waiting for the one cliffhanger they needed to know.

“The question I’m asked most is, ‘Are you going to end up with Rayna,’” said Esten. He then alluded to the writers including some sort of plot between them that could show potential “glimmers of hope and glimmers of light” between the onscreen couple.

Concluding the session with a couple more songs, Esten welcomed fans to the autograph table.

“Seeing him in person, he’s so sweet and down to earth,” Friedman said.

This town definitely feels the same way.