When actor and singer Charles Esten played the Royal Albert Hall, he told himself it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Instead, performing in the famous venue has become a regular occurrence for the Nashville star and now he’s looking forward to playing another iconic stage – Glasgow’s Barrowland.
While the ballroom might not be as salubrious as the London concert hall, it’s just as treasured among musicians and fans alike.
“I’ve heard all about the Barrowland, its name is not lost on me,” smiled Charles, who played Deacon Claybourne on the hit drama about life in the country music town.
“I’ve seen pictures of the front, all lit up, and to play there is thrilling. It’s the venue that’s selling fastest on the tour and I can’t explain what that means to me.
“The Scottish fanbase has always been special since we started touring there with the Nashville cast.
“They seem to be a different breed of music audience, a combination of acknowledgement and heart. They know all the deeper cuts and sing along.”
Charles is familiar with the UK, having made his breakthrough in 1991 in London’s West End, playing the title role in the Buddy Holly musical. During that run, he also joined the cast for Channel 4’s Whose Line Is It Anyway.
But it was on tour with the cast of Nashville that the 54-year-old first played the Royal Albert Hall.
“I told myself, ‘This is special, be in this moment’. Sometimes you have so many thoughts swirling around that you don’t take things in, but I thought this would be the only time.
“Then Whose Line Is It Anyway reached out and said they were doing a 30th anniversary event – three nights at the Royal Albert Hall. And again, I thought, ‘This will be the last time’.
“Now I get the chance to play there again on my solo tour.”
Charles will play a mix of songs from Nashville as well as his own material, of which he has plenty to choose from.
He entered the Guinness Book of Records last year for releasing a new single – which he wrote, recorded and produced – every Friday for 54 consecutive weeks.
“I thought I would get to around 20, never did I think I’d reach 54,” he admitted.
“Being on an ensemble show like Nashville made it possible, as I had time between filming. I can over-think things, so setting myself deadlines really worked.
“If there is something you want to do, tell the world, say it out loud and hold yourself accountable, so you have to do it.”
Since Nashville ended, Charles is working on two new shows, Tell Me Your Secrets and upcoming Netflix drama Outer Banks.
“With acting, it’s got to be something I really want to do, because music holds my heart so strongly,” he continued.
As well as juggling music and acting, dad-of-three Charles is committed to charity.
After his daughter, Abbie, successfully fought leukaemia as a toddler, he and wife Patty are part of the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society in the States. Over the past six years, their Light The Night walks have raised more than $1 million.
He added: “There are times when you go through a diagnosis as a family that feel very dark and lonely, but with Light The Night you are never alone, and holding out lanterns is not only symbolic but is also funding research.”
Charles Esten, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Oct 20
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