It’s hard to imagine Rayna Jaymes on stage without Deacon at her side. Twenty years ago the two teamed up as songwriters. She became a star and he became her band leader. At that time, they were also a romantic couple but there’s a reason that Rayna and Deacon couldn’t stay together: Deacon’s alcoholism made a stable relationship impossible.
Now that he’s sober, however, and Rayna has called off her engagement to Luke Wheeler, it seems the timing may finally be right for this star-crossed couple. There’s just one thing: Deacon has recently received a liver cancer diagnosis that means he may only have six months to live if he doesn’t receive a transplant.
MEET THE CAST: Rayna James | Juliette Barnes | Deacon Claybourne | Scarlett O'Connor | Teddy Conrad | Avery Barkley | Will Lexington | Maddie Conrad | Gunnar Scott | Daphne Conrad | Jeff Fordham | Luke Wheeler
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Charles “Chip” Esten was raised in Alexandria, VA and attended T.C. Williams High School (made famous in the film “Remember the Titans.”) He then attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, where he graduated with a degree in economics and met his eventual wife, Patty. While in Williamsburg, he was lead singer/songwriter in a popular local band, N’est Pas.
Esten made his theatrical debut in London when he portrayed Buddy Holly, singing, acting and playing guitar in the hit West End musical “Buddy.” In that role he was honored to perform for H.R.M Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and eventually President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush at The White House. He was also very honored to perform with Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, Buddy’s original hitmaking bandmates, the Crickets.
It was during his run as Buddy that Esten first appeared on the original British version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” with Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops. When “Whose Line” came to ABC, he became a recurring cast member and frequent song improvisor. Since then he has appeared on Drew Carey’s Improvaganza and toured frequently, performing live improv shows with Stiles, Proops and Jeff B. Davis.
Esten’s many additional television credits include recurring roles on “Big Love,” “Enlightened,” “The Office” and “ER.” Besides being the father on Disney Channel’s “Jessie,” he has been a Klingon on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” a secretary on “Murphy Brown” and Kelly Bundy’s fiance on the series finale of “Married with Children.” His film credits include “Swing Vote,” “Thirteen Days,” “61*” and “The Postman.”
During his first season on “Nashville,” Esten was honored to perform in the Grand Ole Opry and the historic Ryman auditorium. He sings on the Season One Vol. 1 soundtrack, which has sold over 1.5 million tracks to date.
Esten and his wife have two daughters and a son.