Lee Ann Womack and Charles Esten both have huge followings in the country music world. Lee Ann Womack swept the country charts in 2000, and then across every other genre with her song “I Hope You Dance.” It wasn't just her interpretive vocal gift that captured the heartbreak in a single running note up the steel guitar that got her noticed. She had an equal gift in songwriting, and also became much sought-after as a duet partner by nearly every known country artist.

Charles “Chip” Esten got the dream of his life when he was chosen to play the tender-hearted and tormented artist, Deacon Claybourne, on “Nashville” in 2012. Like others in the cast, Charles Esten had to do much more than memorizing lines. The actor was already an accomplished musician and songwriter, and his storyline drew him into one of the most beloved yet besieged love stories ever depicted in a TV drama-- that of Rayna and Deacon, who finally took sacred vows before her character, played by Connie Britton, suddenly passed away after a second traffic collision.

The calendar may insist that the date is Friday the 13th, but both these stars brought enough country charm and life’s truth to dispel any curse in separate hours on “Today.”

More than three chords

Songwriter Harlan Howard defined country music as “three chords and the truth.” Lee Ann Womack brought her whole band and a lot more than three chords to “Megyn Kelly TODAY.” Her rich, angst-filled delivery of “All the Trouble” from her upcoming ninth studio album, “The Lonely, the Lonesome, & the Gone,” proved a great twist for the superstitious day.

Any lady who can sing, “The trouble with a mountain is there's a million ways to fall,” with such powerful yet determined conviction can make anybody believe that his or her day can’t be so bad.

Lee Ann is on a first name basis with the mournful vibe of this tune, and it fell true for Megyn Kelly, who was in tears for the song. The host probably needs the outlet of a song to let her vent, considering the dismal ratings of her NBC debut, but there is always comfort in commiseration.

There is definitely the East Texas blues feel in the album judging from songs released so far, and Lee Ann Womack demonstrates that experienced singer-songwriters never run short on bringing magic to what they do.

Dad’s inspiration

Charles Esten sat in for Kathie Lee Gifford alongside Hoda Kotb for the final “Today” hour. It's no wonder that he feels so at home with the host and adoptive mom, since she and Gifford have made frequent visits to the “Nashville” set to chat with the star, even from the famous kitchen.

“Nashville” will center even more closely on the life and career of Esten’s character when Season 6 commences in January on CMT. Like Hayden Panettiere, who portrays the ever-conflicted Juliette Barnes, the actor makes his home in Nashville and brought along his wife, Patty, and daughter, Addie, for a special New York adventure, besides his morning gig. The family snared impossible to get tickets to Bruce Springsteen's one-man Broadway show, and Charles Esten said that the musical hero’s songs stretched all the way to the Grand Ole Opry.

The actor-musician played “Darkness on the Edge of Town” for the special eclipse show last summer, and can't wait to feel the power of “just him and his guitar” from the stage. Chip has a show tomorrow night in Nashville.

Charles Esten offered his own touching, impromptu song, but it wasn't any country standard or even one of his own upbeat songs. He spoke of the journey that he and Patty shared through Addie’s childhood battle with leukemia, and his primary mission, then and now, is to “be a great dad” to the girl who was “a little warrior,” also supported by her two siblings. Addie is now a nationally ranked soccer player, and everything she does on the field has more “sparkle” for her dad. Addie remembers her dad playing his own songs and lullabies, but Charles Esten said that his children's favorite was the mother elephant’s lullaby from “Dumbo.” As it happens, he brought out his guitar and sang the first verse, echoing “close to my heart, never to part” and that alone was enough to prompt tears.

Both classy country stars who graced “Today” demonstrated that nothing is too scary about any day with the right mix of toughness and togetherness.

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