With Juliette's starring role in the Patsy Cline bio-pic, she is at an all-time career high, but is hitting a personal low. Meanwhile Avery, separated from Juliette, tends to baby Cadence at his parents' home in Texas. Rayna, along with her family and friends, grapple with the chilling aftermath of Deacon's liver transplant.
Juliette breaks down during an appearance on "Live with Kelly and Michael," prompting Avery's concern. But when she continues her pattern of irrational and volatile behavior, she leaves Avery with a struggle of his own. Meanwhile, Rayna is determined to show the world that Highway 65 is not just a vanity project and devises a plan to sign Markus Keen (Riley Smith, "True Blood"), one of the biggest rock artists around.
Beverly becomes brain dead following a second aneurysm, which leaves Deacon overwhelmed with guilt as Scarlett is forced to make a painful decision. Elsewhere, Avery decides to file for divorce when Juliette's behavior continues to spiral out of control.
A reporter shadows Juliette, who has another setback and copes by turning to pills and alcohol. Meanwhile, Rayna struggles to please a demanding rock star; Layla and Jeff have a fight; and Zoey returns to check in on Scarlett.
Maddie and Colt get a taste of freedom while joining Luke on tour. Meanwhile, Rayna's artists keep her very busy; Deacon and Scarlett put their problems aside to go to Natchez, Miss.; and Gunnar wants Kevin and Will to help him find a new girlfriend.
Juliette gets into a brawl with a fan that goes viral, but Jeff sees damage control as an opening for his own career. Maddie is grounded and misses Colt who is on tour with his dad. Markus butts heads with Rayna over his sound, and the two consider whether they can continue working together.
Rayna's concerns about Deacon's business venture with an old friend from AA, Frankie (Mark Collie), threaten to drive a wedge between the lovebirds. Luke's personal integrity and his relationship with Colt are on the line in the wake of recent events.
Rayna wants to turn down Sony's contract offer for Maddie to be a solo artist and finds her family life distracting her from her work with Markus. Luke is desperate to regain Colt's trust; Gunnar's girlfriend, Erin, causes issues on tour with Scarlett and Avery scrambles to make money doing insipid jingles.
Rayna's new artist, Markus Keen, causes trouble for her when he scraps a song on his new album one week before its release. Is Deacon part of the solution or the problem? Luke attempts to reconcile with Colt, and Scarlett surprises Caleb back in Nashville when she gets time off on her tour.
It's a big morning for Markus Keen when "Good Morning America" comes to Nashville to broadcast a live concert in support of his new album launch, but come show time, Markus finds he's anything but ready. Meanwhile, Luke's relationship with Colt continues to be strained while Luke learns of another setback to launching his brand. And living in the same house, but feeling further apart than ever, Rayna and Deacon face a big decision.
Paparazzi ambush Deacon and Rayna at their rehearsal dinner and Deacon doesn't react well, necessitating a location change for their wedding. Meanwhile, Avery has trouble keeping on top of the lies he's forced to tell the press due to Juliette's absence.
A familiar face is back on the Nashville music scene when Luke recruits his old friend Riff Bell to join him on tour. While the duo excitedly starts planning Riff's return to the stage, newcomer Vita arrives at The Beverly, but while she convinces Deacon and Rayna she deserves a shot, Frankie has his doubts. In the end, more questions than answers remain.
Luke and Riff are excitedly planning their upcoming tour, but Luke soon realizes he may have moved too quickly in the decision to have Riff on the road again. Meanwhile, Deacon and Frankie clash about Vita, with Frankie making a damaging decision that could change everything.
A familiar face - Juliette Barnes - finally returns to Nashville after receiving treatment for postpartum depression and finds herself at a critical crossroads upon her homecoming. Layla, weeks away from launching her first album, courts country-music superstar Autumn Chase (played by Alicia Witt) in order to secure an opening slot on her tour. Rayna, while shepherding Layla, is motivated to take up a worthy cause. Elsewhere, Will decides to produce his own record, and Colt presents Luke with a difficult proposition.
The Exes find navigating their newfound fame tricky business when they go out on the road with Autumn Chase (played by Alicia Witt). Meanwhile, back in Nashville, Maddie continues to grow closer with Cash, causing tension with Deacon as he questions her motives and interest in his daughter. Juliette misses her manager, Glenn, and devises a plan to get him back while Will finds himself working with Kevin again.
Thomas Rhett guest stars as himself, performing his #1 hit, "Die a Happy Man," in this all-new episode. Rayna and Deacon are distraught when Maddie runs away from home, and Juliette is threatened by Avery's connection to Layla. Luke is forced to find a new artist when Riff disappears, and Autumn drives a wedge between Gunnar and Scarlett.
Rayna and Deacon try everything they can think of to reunite with Maddie and avoid court, even involving Teddy (Eric Close) from jail. Juliette tries to rekindle her relationship with Avery, and her success on tour stokes Layla's jealousy, personally and professionally. Luke Wheeler leverages his own appearance on "Good Morning America" with Robin Roberts to try to jump start Will Lexington's career.
Rayna and Deacon fight to regain the trust of a determined Maddie as she seeks independence, but their efforts are undermined by someone they thought was an ally. Scarlett and Gunnar disagree on the history of their musical partnership during a press interview. Luke tries to do the right thing for an artist he admires, but it ends up backfiring.
Rayna makes a last-ditch effort to protect her oldest daughter from the perils that befall young artists. Juliette reunites with her "Shenandoah Girl" co-star Noah West (Derek Hough) on the Oscar campaign trail, where she meets Kesha, who guest stars as herself. Elsewhere, Scarlett grows wary of Gunnar's budding friendship with Autumn Chase (Alicia Witt); Layla fears falling into obscurity before her career even takes off; and Will suffers a devastating loss,
After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by "The View" to trumpet a worthy cause—before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird.
On the season finale, Rayna resorts to drastic measures when she learns that Maddie has crossed paths with a duplicitous figure from her past. Juliette must choose how to publicly reckon with the truth of Jeff Fordham's death—a decision that directly affects Layla. Scarlett and Gunnar consider parting ways as bandmates, and Will finally decides to do what he should have done long ago—step up as the leader of a cause and a community.