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"You know, around here punk is code for “can’t play at all."
— Deacon to Avery Barkley
"I ain't dead. And I ain't done."
— Deacon to Scarlett O'Connor
"When did it turn into a Comedy Club?"
—Deacon to Avery Barkley

Deacon Claybourne is a singer and guitar player who has been head of Rayna Jaymes' band for over twenty years. He is portrayed by Charles Esten.


John Deacon Claybourne, better known as Deacon Claybourne, is a loyal companion to Rayna Jaymes — both onstage and off. The talented musician became Rayna’s band leader, guitar player, songwriter, and romantic partner when the duo paired up twenty years ago. And while things didn’t exactly work out for the two stars in the romance department — Deacon’s inner turmoil runs deep — the pair has successfully carried on a loyal, professional partnership.

He had been sober for thirteen years until he found out that Maddie was his biological daughter. He then relapsed and began drinking for a short amount of time, before getting sober again. In Season Four, he married Rayna Jaymes, who was later fatally injured in car crash.


Season One

Deacon Claybourne has been Rayna's lead guitar player for over twenty years. Their history is both long and complicated, sharing a past romance together and a present friendship. After their performance at the Grand Ole Opry, he introduces his niece, Scarlett O'Connor to Rayna.

Juliette Barnes, a young top country singer attempts to steal him from Rayna for her tour, offering him a lead position in her band and double the money Rayna pays him. Juliette is willing to do everything to get Deacon as her band leader. Deacon tells Rayna. Rayna tells him to do whatever will make him happy, she doesn't want to hold him back.

He and Rayna dated when they were younger and he is the biological father of her daughter Maddie. The relationship between Rayna and Deacon has always been complicated. Because of his drinking, Rayna decided to marry Teddy Conrad. However, he and Rayna have always remained close.

Seasons Two to Four

After the end of her marriage to Teddy and end of her relationships with Liam McGuinnis and Luke Wheeler, they officially became a couple.

When he was diagnosed with a tumor due to his excessive drinking, Rayna and her daughters stayed by his side and he proposed to Rayna, which she eventually accepted. They married during Season Four.

Season Five

Following Rayna's death due to injuries sustained following a car crash, he became the legal guardian of Maddie Conrad and Daphne Conrad.

He took over co-ownership of Highway 65 following his wife's death. Soon billionaire entrepreneur Zach Welles, who had formed a business partnership with Rayna prior to her death, started to take over dealing with the label and during a heart-to-heart Deacon discovered that Zach was someone who always wanted to be in control and made him an offer of working together to make the label a success. Following his discovery that Juliette Barnes had stolen a song intended for Maddie he threatened to drop her from the label but she redeemed herself after helping to teach Zach a lesson by threatening to expose who he really was to the tabloids.

Season Six

Zach later left Nashville to return home to California in order to pursue a career in politics Deacon also began a new relationship with singer-songwriter Jessie Caine and after seeing her son Jake perform a freestyle rap at the school talent show he encouraged the youngster to keep on practising as he saw that he had a gift. Following Brad Maitland assaulting his son when he showed up at Jessie's house, Deacon tackled him by forcing him against a wall, which shocked Jessie.

Brad decides to issue a court summons over the incident and the pressure leads to Deacon splitting up with Jessie. His father also returns into his life causing tension since he blames his father for his drunken ways and his inability to maintain a good relationship. When he discovers a bottle of whisky in his father's car he tells his father to get lost but ultimately forgives him when his father explains that he had not touched a drop since Daphne found him with a broken bottle. Deacon asks his father to join him onstage for a performance at the Ryman Auditorium.


• Season One

• Season Two

Season Three

Season Four

Solos (In a Duet):

Season One:
Season Two:

Season Three:

Season Four:



To view the Deacon Claybourne gallery, click here.



  • "You never wanna stay too long at a pity party, you know." (to Juliette)
  • "I think we hit all of the important spots." (to Stacey)
  • "Nope." (to everyone)
Main Characters
Juliette BarnesDeacon ClaybourneScarlett O'ConnorAvery BarkleyGunnar ScottWill LexingtonMaddie ConradDaphne ConradJessie CaineBrad Maitland
Former Main Characters
Rayna JaymesJeff FordhamLayla GrantLuke WheelerTeddy ConradAlyssa GreeneZach Welles