If anyone asks Charles Esten, the “Nashville” leading man will say the entire six seasons of the TV drama and his life have been a dream come true. Tonight marks the Season 6 premiere for the show on CMT, and the cast knows that it will be the last for the show that mixes high-caliber music and artistry with the roller coaster of life experiences and emotion through its characters. Nothing could keep Charles Esten from smiling very early this morning on “Today” with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. He joked that he felt like he was in a “reverse snow globe,” being warm and comfy inside the studio while outside, New Yorkers are enduring the near-blizzard effects of the “cyclone bomb.”

Countless “Nashville” fans have been in mourning since the news came just before Thanksgiving that Season 6 would be the last for the series that seamlessly merges the music into the melodrama, and allows the actors to shine as true artists.

Just when Esten’s character, Deacon Claybourne, had found peace and happiness at home with the love of his life, Rayna Jaymes (portrayed by Connie Britton), a second car crash, with complications of infection, took her life, leaving her entire family and her small screen music world grief-stricken.

Charles Esten feels the pain of parting, too, but he also finds the silver lining in Season 6, the legacy of the unique series that “Nashville” is, and of course, in the music. The actor was flush with thankfulness as he talked about the long run of “Nashville” on the morning show.

Just grateful

In a preview clip from the premiere episode, Deacon is being nudged by his niece, Scarlett (Clare Bowen) to “get back out there” into the world at a New Year's Eve party.

Parties have not been Deacon Claybourne's kind of scene. He is known to stay in on special occasions, choosing to watch “Old Yeller” instead. He has no plans to fall into the ritual plugged by “people in champagne commercials,” so fans will have to watch to see if he gives into the good-natured ribbing over his well-being.

“It is hard,” Charles Esten confessed regarding Season 6 being the last for “Nashville,” but he quickly added, “all I can feel is fortunate and blessed, and so grateful.” That gratitude is not just extended to CMT, who picked up the ground-breaking series after ABC's abrupt cancellation after Season 4, but to millions of fans.

Petitions, Facebook posts, and a barrage of social media intervention led Lionsgate and CMT to create a new home for “Nashville,” and Charles Esten realizes that “we thought we were done two seasons ago,” and the star constantly savors the connection between the cast and the faithful fans who watch week to week, and fill auditoriums for the “Nashville on the Road” tours that showcase the talents of the cast.

No matter how hard Hoda and Jenna pushed for details, Charles Esten never divulged just what happens to Deacon through the season. “Rayna Jaymes pulled me back together,” he says, “and we'll just see if she pulled me back together enough to go on without her.” Connie Britton stars in the new series “9-1-1” on FOX.

Eaten described that one of the benefits of this season being the last is “being able to love on each other a little bit more” and remember the family that the show has created. The cast will have input into how each of their characters’ storylines is crafted in this season-long farewell of 16 episodes. “We get to go out the way we should,” Esten insisted.

Sneaking in a song

Charles Esten echoed appreciation and pride in being able “to do the songs of Deacon” after the scenes with Deacon end on the series.

He offered a song that will not be featured until Episode 5 of this season on “Nashville.” He got advance permission to share the song just for a “Today” performance.

“Looking for the Light” is a powerful, poignant song that weaves into the storyline of Deacon Claybourne like an old saddle blanket. Esten co-wrote the song with songwriter and musician Charlie Worsham, who joined him for the performance. The actor graciously praised Worsham’s album, “Beginning of Things,” before performing their collaboration.

Series or not for the TV land “Nashville,” Charles Esten loves the city of Nashville, its real-life people, and its music. He's a resident and a regular at the Grand Ole Opry. Fans can always hear him sing the songs of Deacon, but what's behind the TV character is much more satisfying.