A big reason the 52-year-old actor can call on help from his famous friends each year is because of the close-knit ties in Nashville. After years spent in Los Angeles chasing his acting dreams and working on shows like Whose Line, moving to the Tennessee city was kismet.
“This place, Nashville, it feels like a home we had never been to before but, ultimately, it became our home,” he said. “I’m very fortunate, because these characters on our show, we’re going through tough times, the hardest of times, including the cancer storyline that [my character Deacon] has been through. But the thing that happens again and again on our show is we find that when you go through these times, people come alongside you.”
Much like he calls on his friends for help, Esten has also been asked to join in on other musician’s charitable efforts, which he says he is “blessed” to get to do. Just last month, he participated in the nationwide Hand-to-Hand hurricane relief telethon; the Grand Ole Opry’s Country Cares For St. Jude Kids with Luke Bryan, Alabama’s Randy Owen and his co-star, Bowen; and Lee Brice’s Folds of Honor Guitar Pull, which raised money for educational scholarships for families of fallen or injured military men and women.
“I probably get more from each of those events than I bring to them. I got to sit on stage with these friends and guys who I love — Lee Brice, Tyler Farr and Jerrod Neimann — and make music with them, which is something I would do for free if there was no audience,” he admitted. “You now change that to, not only is there an audience, there’s an audience of some of the finest people you will ever meet in your life, in terms of what they do and give to this country and what they’ve sacrificed, and you are helping in some small way to make lives better for not just them but for the people that they are reaching out and taking care of? C’mon now, that’s unbelievable.”