Charles Esten To Deliver Debut Album “Love Ain’t Pretty” January 2024

Charles Esten Love Ain't Pretty Guitar Armchair Mirror Portrait
Charles Esten (Photo: Kirsten Balani)

Marking a new pinnacle in a lifetime of creative achievement, multi-talented entertainer Charles Esten will release his highly anticipated independent debut album, Love Ain’t Pretty, on January 26, 2024Fans can pre-save/pre-add now.

A diverse and richly textured full-length project more than 10 years in the making, Love Ain’t Pretty began taking shape when Esten first arrived in Music City to play “Deacon Claybourne” on ABC/CMT’s Nashville, and now showcases a singer-songwriter with a masterful grasp of the full human condition. Working in tandem with hitmakers like Jon NiteEric PaslayGary BurrLeslie Satcher, and more, Esten co-wrote all 14 songs, diving deep into wide-ranging themes of earth-shattering romance, big-picture reflection, and beyond. Vividly detailed and filled with the emotional daring of a celebrated storyteller – both onscreen and onstage – Esten explores life, love, and the passing of time through the lens of a traveled and tested everyman, who has never lost his innate sense of wonder, or his wide-open soul. Meanwhile, he teamed with producer Marshall Altman (Frankie Ballard, Marc Broussard, Matt Nathanson) to sculpt a calm, controlled, and beautifully contoured sound, blending the forward momentum of Country Rock with Rootsy small-town charm, and a warm, soulful vocal. 

Love Ain’t Pretty is a culmination of a lifetime of growth, and like its title suggests, it hasn’t always been pretty, but it has been a beautiful ride. Already releasing “One Good Move,” “A Little Right Now,” and “In A Bar Somewhere,” he next introduces his first-and-only collaboration in the collection called “Down The Road,” which features Eric Paslay – as exclusively premiered with PEOPLE. A jangling Country rocker with adrenaline coursing through its veins, the EstenPaslay, and Dylan Altman-penned propulsive track pairs its never-give-up theme with a blast of supreme sonic confidence. Boasting a relentless pulse, 1000-watt guitar riffs, and an uplifting, bring-it-on vocal blend, Esten and Paslay swap encouraging lines about chasing dreams and staying the course, no matter what comes. Together, they preach the kind of light-in-the-darkness optimism that can lead to greatness and aim to send listeners off on a headlong rush toward destiny – even if the path ahead is unclear. Listen to “Down The Road (feat. Eric Paslay)” here.

Charles Esten Love Ain't Pretty Album Art


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 deVette, 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

On Wednesday night (8/9), Paslay popped up during Esten’s 163rd appearance at the Grand Ole Opry to play “Down The Road” ahead of its release – see photos here. Fast following this high-energy performance, Esten next hosts “WARDJAMMER III” at The Windjammer in Isle of Palms, SC, tomorrow (8/12). Launched in 2021 in honor of his most recent role as “Ward Cameron” in Netflix’s Outer Banks, the headliner show promises all new music and can’t-miss surprises. With limited tickets available, fans can purchase tickets here.

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