Love Aint Pretty    Charles Esten Self Released  20244 Reviewed by Michael Rampa

prettyIf you have never watched the ABC hit show” Nashville” you may not be familiar with Charles Esten. The Pittsburgh native played ace guitarist Deacon Claybourne and had been acting and playing music under the radar long before he was cast in the show. and developed an indie following that culminated in the release of his debut album. “Love Aint” Pretty” is anambitious14-track effort where Esten has all co-write credit on all songs. Thematically he tapped into the universal phenomenon of love in all its facets and tackling the difficult aspects of the universal emotion rather than just  storybook version. The opening track will catch the listener’s ear by delivering a true country sound with a little gloss on Esten’s ’signature baritone with an uncanny ability to make the title track feel like it needs a question mark after it to comprehend the complexity of the task. The  order of the tracks makes for a fluent feel and allows for the hard rocking IAint which sounds like a Brantley Gilbert song. He is an excellent guitarist and equally adept at delivering ballads, namely his favorite “Somewhere in the Sunshine” He confessed that the only reason he got to play the Ryman was because he was Deacon Claybourn. Given the sold-out shows and the reception to the album it seems not too far fetched that he may have his own name on the hallowed stage. someday.