by Dale Eckroth
Air Force Recruiting Service
10/22/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Millions
of TV viewers know them as Deacon Claybourne, Scarlett O'Connor, Avery
Barkley and Layla Grant from the hit ABC series, "Nashville."
On this year's "Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas" radio special,
Master Sgt. Harry Kibbe chats with cast members Charles "Chip" Esten,
Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson and Aubrey Peeples. All four artists
recorded tracks along with fellow cast members for the
soon-to-be-released "Christmas With Nashville" album. They also discuss
what it's like to live, work and perform in Nashville and how the TV
show blends fiction with reality.
"For all of us, acting and music are both of our passions. They are just
two things we really care about," Bowen said. "Yes, we play these
characters that are musicians, but we were musicians before and we're
all developing our own sound outside the show as well."
Esten added that line of reality and fiction has been completely blurred by the TV show.
"The great thing about the songs in the show is that they aren't like
buttons on a shirt," he said. "They're part of the fabric. They're woven
right into the very scene itself. It's not like you're doing a scene
and now let's sing a song that has nothing to do with it. It's deeply a
part of it."
Now in its 13th season, a "Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas" was
recorded in early October at Spotland Productions in Nashville and
produced by Air Force Recruiting Service.
Big Machine Label Group worked with ABC to arrange the actors'
appearance on the Air Force special. The record label is responsible for
releasing sound tracks from the TV show including "Christmas With
Nashville," the cast's first holiday album. It was produced by Jay
DeMarcus of the band Rascal Flatts.
"This year's show is unique because instead of one great artist, we
feature four really talented entertainers," Kibbe said. "Their music is
great and they were very open and fun in the interview. It's definitely
one of the best times I've had in the studio."
According to Ken Raimondi, broadcast manager at AFRS, the Air Force has
enjoyed a long relationship with the country music industry.
"The Air Force has produced music programs in Nashville with country
artists for decades. The country community has continually welcomed us
with open arms," he said. "They provide their time and talents to us at
no charge. They see it as a service to the troops and we are very
thankful for their continued participation with us."
Esten echoed those sentiments.
"Historically, country music is intertwined with our men and women who
serve. They have a great relationship and the artists are so caring and
so wonderful about the military, and rightfully so," he said.
The Air Force special will be sent to more than 3,000 country stations
in the United States by mid-November. Also, the show will be distributed
to the American Forces Network so troops in deployed locations will be
able to listen to it. The one-hour public service program, designed to
help ease the programming load for station program directors during the
holidays, includes breaks for stations to sell commercial time.
Artists who've appeared on the holiday show include Blake Shelton, Lady
Antebellum, Faith Hill, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire and George Strait.
"If you'd like to hear the show on your local station, please call them
and let them know. We'd love to expand our reach," Raimondi said. "We're
also considering a podcast in the future that we hope will give our
show a wider reach."
As a service member who's been stationed overseas during the holidays,
Kibbe said the Nashville cast's involvement in this year's "Red, White
and Air Force Blue Christmas" does make a difference to the men and
women in uniform serving around the world. He thanked the actors for
taking time to be a part of the program.
"I'd like to turn that around and to anyone listening [military]," Esten
added. "We're the ones to thank you, thank you for your service
especially during the holidays. God bless you all."