Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

For Queen and Country


In NBC’s dearly departed Texas high-school soap Friday Night Lights, Connie Britton scored two Emmy nominations for her part as Tami Taylor, wife to Kyle Chandler’s demigod football coach. On ABC’s new show Nashville, created by Thelma and Louise writer Callie Khouri, she plays the superstar—Rayna James, a fading country-music legend who gets a sobering wake-up call when her record company demands that she open for a younger, questionably talented ingénue (Hayden Panettiere). Eating brains on Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story recently earned Britton her third consecutive Emmy nod, but learning to sing for her new role may have been even scarier. She spoke with Denise Martin.

You’re playing another tough-talking southern woman. Were you concerned about doing that again?
Rayna is so different from Tami Taylor. She’s a self-made, empowered, successful woman—and a country-music star. Her accent is going to be subtly different than Tami’s. There probably won’t be as many y’alls.

When we first meet Rayna, her popularity is waning. Please tell us this won’t be as depressing as Country Strong.
No, we’re definitely going to watch her negotiate what the music business is now. She’s been doing this for twenty years, but so much in the industry has changed, and we’ll see her figure out how she fits into it. That’s always my hope, that whenever someone goes through these transitions, it deepens their resolve and love for what they do.

How’s the singing going?
It’s been hard. I’ve been working with T Bone Burnett for months. I’m the remedial student in our cast of singers—everyone else has great voices, and I’m the one who only did it back in drama school. We’ll spend days just sitting around and listening to the music Rayna would have grown up with. I started singing this Bonnie Raitt song with my vocal coach the other day, and I literally burst into tears because I’ll never sound as good as Bonnie Raitt.

Are you a fan of country music?
Ironically, I would say country is the one type of music I’ve spent the least amount of time with in my life. I grew up in Virginia, where there was a lot of it, but I was more interested in rock and roll. Southern rock.

October 10. 10 p.m.


Movies: Amy Adams's Spiritual Revival Art: Richard Artschwager Does More With Less
Movies: John Hawkes, Rom-Com Virgin Art: Martha Rosler's MoMA Garage Sale
Movies: Marion Cotillard: Still French Art: Exhibitions We're Anticipating
Movies: Which Best Actor Contender Should You Root For? Pop: Byrne and St. Vincent Break the Brass Ceiling
Movies: Daniel Day Lewis's Lincoln Adventure Pop: A Season of Comeback Albums
Movies: Films We're Anticipating Pop: Animal Collective's Weird Relapse
TV: The Adam Scott Files Pop: No Doubt Shakes Off the Spiderwebs
TV: Terry O'Quinn, Landlord From Hell Pop: Albums We're Anticipating
TV: Which New Show Should You Watch? Classical & Dance: Thomas Ades's Eight-Year Itch
TV: Q&A With Connie Britton Classical & Dance: Michael Gordon, Carpenter
Theater: Katie Finneran Finds Her Inner Harridan Classical & Dance: Performances We're Anticipating
Theater: Bobby Cannavale, an Easy Sell Food: Torrisi Goes Old-School
Theater: Which Movie Star Should You See on Broadway? Food: New Restaurants, Historical Buildings
Theater: Productions We're Anticipating Food: Ramen Season
Books: Junot Diaz's Counterlife Food: Hope for Bagel Fans
Books: Which Event Novel Should You Read? Food: Restaurants We're Anticipating
Books: Excerpt From Chabon's Telegraph Avenue Shopping: Retailers' Favorite New Merch
Books: Reads We're Anticipating Shopping: Uptown-Downtown Turnaround
Nightlife: Eleven Reasons Sleep Is Overrated Shopping: The Coolest Collaborations
Nightlife: The Most Promising Drink Trends Shopping: Highlights in Pop-up Shops
Plus: What to Do Every Day This Season
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift