Callie Khouri knew that folks in country music were enjoying her show “Nashville” when she went to the CMA awards last fall and the musicians started telling her stories. “ ‘Oh honey, we need to talk,’ ” she says with a laugh at what people would say when they approached her backstage.
They’ve also begun asking about cameos on the music-filled ABC drama, starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere as dueling divas of different generations.
“We’re starting to really hear from people, which is a huge compliment because I’m sure they were all worried that we were going to be disrespectful or make fun of them. Now everybody feels pretty comfortable,” said Khouri, when we caught up with her at the recent Television Critics Association press tour.
The Oscar-winning “Thelma and Louise” scribe was also jazzed about the series soundtrack, which debuted in the top 20 last month. We asked Khouri — whose husband, award-winning producer T Bone Burnett, oversees the music on “Nashville” — about five of her favorite country musicians. She had so many she decided to cheat a little bit, and we let her.
1. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard “The Mt. Rushmore of country music.”
2. Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly Parton “Of course.”
3. The Del McCoury Band “I tell everybody that somewhere along the way I changed my name to Callie McKhouri because I love them. They are so amazing.”
4. The Punch Brothers “I think they are absolutely brilliant. Chris Thile is a once-in-a-century kind of musician. T Bone calls him the Louis Armstrong of this generation.”
5. Pam Tillis “Hearing her sing is one of the great joys of my life.”
“Nashville” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Channel 5. The soundtrack is out now.