Charles Esten // ‘Love Ain’t Pretty’ // Album Review


Charles Esten is probably better known as ABC/CMT’s Nashville’s Deacon Claybourne however since first hitting our screens 10 years ago, he has also been working on his music project. Spending time honing his craft he is now ready to release his first full-length solo album, ‘Love Ain’t Pretty.

The album itself is unmistakenly country to its core blending both the classic storytelling of old and the gutsier modern sounds. The first 4 tracks on the album are very much so those small-town stories played on an acoustic guitar however by track 5, “I Ain’t” Esten kicks up a gear into more of that modern sound we hear on the radio now. The change allows him to explore his sound more which is especially true of “When Love Ain’t Love” which has a more 80’s feel to it. As you move through the album there is always a constant and that is that the songs all tell a story whether that be love, heartache, hope or despair, the difference is the musical stylings which take us on a rollercoaster of emotions.

 Five of the fourteen brand-new tracks, ‘Somewhere In The Sunshine’, ‘One Good Move’, ‘A Little Right Now’, ‘In A Bar Somewhere’, and ‘Down The Road’ (feat. Eric Paslay) are all available to download/stream now.

‘Love Ain’t Pretty’ is an incredible collection of songs that Esten has been fully involved with, co-writing each one. Pulling from influences that cover every variation of country music, there is something for any fan on this album to love. Esten is due to tour the UK and Europe later this year and I do not doubt that hearing these tracks live will be something special.


Review: Emmie Ellis


1. ‘Love Ain’t Pretty’ (Charles Esten, Marshall Altman, Jimmy Yeary)

2. ‘A Little Right Now’ (Charles Esten, Jacob Lyda, Brian Maher)

3. ‘One Good Move’ (Charles Esten, Sam Backoff, Zarni de Vette, Elise Hayes)

4. ‘In A Bar Somewhere’ (Charles Esten, Jason Gantt, Neil Medley)

5. ‘I Ain’t’ (Charles Esten, Brad Crisler, James LeBlanc)

6. ‘Another Song About You’  (Charles Esten, Colin Elmore)

7. ‘When Love Ain’t Love’ (Charles Esten, Jeffrey East)

8. ‘Candlelight’ (Charles Esten, Kenny Alphin, Eric Paslay)

9. ‘Back In My Life Again’ (Charles Esten, Marcus Hummon, Bryan Todd)

10. ‘Make You Happy’  (Charles Esten, Gary Burr, Jon D’Agostino)

11. ‘Willing To Try’ (Charles Esten, Gary Burr)

12. ‘Maybe I’m Alright’  (Charles Esten, Leslie Satcher)

13. ‘Down The Road (feat. Eric Paslay)’ (Charles Esten, Eric Paslay, Dylan Altman)

14. ‘Somewhere In The Sunshine’ (Charles Esten, Jon Nite)

All Songs Produced by Marshall Altman

Commenting on his return to the UK and Europe, Esten shared, “Some of my earliest musical performances were way back in 1991 playing Buddy Holly in the hit West End musical ‘BUDDY’. That’s when I began my love affair with UK audiences who literally danced in the aisles. Four years ago, I was pretty heartbroken when the first COVID lockdowns meant that my debut C2C O2 Arena headline performance was to be cancelled, and ever since that day, I have been dreaming of and praying for a return to the UK. That dream came true in October when I was blessed to be a part of the amazing Nashville Reunion Tour. Then, as that was successfully wrapping up, I received the confirmed schedule for my return solo tour. And I damn near cried. I am chuffed, over the moon, and thrilled to bits to be returning to play my music in the country that for two magical years, I got my start in and called my home.”

Check out the full tour dates below – tickets are on sale here:

Charles Esten’s 2024 UK/European Tour Dates:
Sat., 20 Apr. – Usher Hall | Edinburgh, UK
Mon., 22 Apr. – Royal Concert Hall | Glasgow, UK
Wed., 24 Apr. – The Glasshouse | Gateshead, UK
Fri., 26 Apr. – Palladium | London, UK
Sat., 27 Apr. – O2 Academy | Bristol, UK
Mon., 29 Apr. – Lowry Lyric Theatre | Salford, UK
Tue., 30 Apr. – Town Hall | Birmingham, UK
Thu., 2 May – Tivoli/Vredenburg – Grote Zaal | Utrecht, Netherlands
Fri., 3 May – Fabrik | Hamburg, Germany
Sat., 4 May – Im Wizemann Halle | Stuttgart, Germany
Mon., 6 May – Circus Krone | Munich, Germany
Tue., 7 May – Carlswerk Victoria | Cologne, Germany
Thu., 9 May – DR Studio 2 | Copenhagen, Denmark
Fri., 10 May – Kulturkirken Jakob | Oslo, Norway

Multi-talent Charles Esten is a global entertainer. Known for his roles as Ward Cameron on the Netflix hit show Outer Banks and Deacon Claybourne in ABC/CMT’s Nashville, the artist-songwriter introduces his independent debut album, Love Ain’t Pretty, on January 26, 2024. Already totalling over 14 million streams for his music to date, Esten is a 2018 Guinness World Records title holder for the “Most consecutive weeks to release an original digital single by a music act” after delivering 54 original songs once a week for 54 straight weeks.

He’s made over 160 appearances at Nashville’s iconic Grand Ole Opry and performed multiple headline tours in the U.S., Germany, Amsterdam, and the U.K., including at famed venues like the Royal Albert Hall. In 2023, Esten returned to the stage with select Nashville cast members for NASHVILLE – The Reunion Tour with sold-out dates in the U.S. and U.K., which the Birmingham Mail described as “an evening of feel-good fun,” with the Daily Mirror praising an “impressive set of show classics and solo material.” In April/May 2024, he’ll take Love Ain’t Pretty on the road in the UK & Europe for thirteen solo headline shows.

In addition, Esten serves as the National Honorary Spokesperson for the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society’s annual Light The Night Walk and is a board member and volunteer for Musicians On Call.  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |  TikTok