Nashville” star Charles Esten has lived to know heartache, hell, and heaven as Deacon Claybourne on the Music City drama. The versatile actor, singer, and songwriter has nothing but good memories and a glow of contentment in reflecting on the place he calls home and the pivotal series of his career. Charles Esten has no bridges to burn, and only beams when he mentions Connie Britton, who was the love of Deacon Claybourne's life as Rayna Jaymes. Hayden Panettiere also stirs her own heartfelt memories, being part of Esten’s very first audition for “Nashville.” Kaitlin Doubleday plays a big part in Charles Esten’s on-screen life through this farewell season, setting Deacon’s life on a brighter course, as Jessie Caine.

Charles Esten didn’t seem to want to divulge too much of what's to come in Season 6 to Us Weekly, but he did make it clear to Sounds of Nashville that he plans to make the city of Nashville his “forever” home, and will never forsake his love of the Mecca or its music. He has the same devotion to his “Nashville” cast and co-stars and stays connected, whether they share the same studio or not.

All heart for Hayden

To this day, Charles Esten remembers Hayden Panettiere as the first person he met on “Nashville,” and the loving way she boosted the confidence of her 52-year-old costar. While Esten did his “couple of scenes” and another “couple of songs,” he remembers that Hayden had her ear to the door as he came out, “in a very Juliette kind of way,” and encouraged him, saying his offerings were “so good.” He didn't want to let on that in his mind, a mantra of “Save the cheerleader, save the world,” was playing, harkening to Hayden's role in “Heroes.”

Hayden Panettiere’s Juliette on “Nashville” is a kindred spirit in many ways to that of Deacon.

She understands the bondage of addiction and the baggage of family failings. Already, her character is beckoned by another promised purveyor of inner peace, Darius. Juliette will need the grounding of a trusted friend like Deacon when she has another hard fall back to earth. “She couldn't have been kinder,” Esten recalls of Panettiere when he was the new face on “Nashville.” The actress courageously opened up with her personal battle against post-partum depression, and depression will once more be her character’s foe in Season 6, but bets are that Juliette can summon newfound strength to overcome

Cyber affection with Connie

Connie Britton has not lost any of her bent for social consciousness.

She wore a “Poverty Is Sexist” tee-shirt to the Golden Globe awards, last Sunday, in support of Bono’s ONE Campaign for global income parity for all. The passionate mom to son, Eyob, will star in “9-1-1” on FOX, but never loses touch with her good friend, Charles Esten. The epic love between the two on the small screen was not destined to last, but in real life, “we text a bunch,” Esten declares.

Beyond her talent as an actress, her friend, and former TV husband praises the “truthfulness” that Britton brings to any role and that she also brought out of him. He affectionately calls Britton “flat-out funny,” and another forever friend.

Charles Esten loves the people, the music, and the green rolling hills of Nashville, so he is there to stay, no matter where his next role takes him. He relishes the close-knit and friendly neighborhood where “we knew more of our neighbors in a day and a half than we did in 15 years in L.A.” The city, the show, and all the memories are keepers for this guy, fondly known as “Chip.”