On the season premiere, a torn Rayna must choose not just between two men, but two directions that her life could take. Juliette, struggling to repair her relationship with Avery, auditions for the leading role of a film biopic. Meanwhile, Scarlett, determined to start fresh, embarks on a road trip home and bonds with an unexpected stowaway, and Will and Layla manage the fallout from his on-camera confession.
After Will's debut album bumps Rayna's to second place, she's more determined than ever to make Highway 65 and her record a hit. In turn, she decides to pursue some new and unexpected opportunities for publicity, including a visit to "Good Morning America" where her friend Luke Bryan surprises her on stage. Layla becomes especially disgruntled about her fleeting career and pressures her husband Will, Edgehill Records' new number 1 artist, to help her rebuild it. Meanwhile, Juliette deals with some life-changing news and prepares for a big audition.
Rayna and Jeff compete to get Sadie to sign with either Highway 65 or Edgehill. Juliette continues to try and hide her pregnancy. Zoey becomes suspicious of Gunnar and Scarlett. Avery's drinking lands him in trouble.
Juliette is rushed to hospital after collapsing backstage. Gunnar tries to persuade Kiley to stay in Nashville so he can spend more time with Micah. Maddie and Colt throw a party. Teddy receives a shock.
Rayna agrees to be shadowed by a reporter all weekend for the cover of a magazine, just as Luke hopes to rekindle their romance. Meanwhile, Juliette struggles to prepare for motherhood alone, and Will and Layla brace themselves for the premiere of their reality show.
It's country music's biggest night of the year at the 48th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville. Up for a total of 11 awards between them, Rayna and Luke's evening begins with an unfortunate hitch when Rayna stumbles upon Luke's pre-nuptial agreement documents, causing for some friction between them. Later, Avery's parents are in town for the show as Avery is nominated for a CMA Award. What should be a lovely reunion takes a turn when Avery introduces them to Juliette. Meanwhile, Gunnar and Zoey's relationship is tested and Deacon and Scarlett watch the awards from home.
Rayna continues to pull out all stops in self-promotion, this time by agreeing to do a televised Christmas special from her home for charity, with Luke and the children. But when she invites Deacon to join in, things get awkward fast. Her magazine cover story has reverberations for her personal life.
Rayna's daughters - and Luke - don't take the news of the canceled wedding very well; Avery and Juliette encounter a few bumps as they adjust to married life; Sadie purchases a gun; Deacon gets bad news about his condition.
Rayna brushes off rumors about her and Luke's breakup as she prepares to return to the stage; Scarlett plans a surprise for Deacon; Gunnar travels to Austin intent on mending fences with his estranged nephew.
Rayna is furious when she finds out Jeff Fordham's plans to sign Maddie to Edgehill. Luke enlists Gunnar in his efforts to forget his heartbreak, first by writing revenge songs, and then by carousing and they bring a cautious Will along for the bar hopping. Sadie is tormented by her stalker ex-husband and brings her expensive recording session with Avery to a standstill, jeopardizing his job. And Deacon's secrecy over his illness causes him to push Maddie away.
After Rayna reveals Jeff's indiscretions to the board members, Edgehill Republic begins to fall apart; Deacon considers a clinical trial; Scarlett reconnects with Gunnar; Juliette poses for a magazine spread.
As part of Rayna's 10th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry, she has her daughters & Deacon perform on stage, then a duet with Deacon. Sadie speaks out on a talk show about her past as a victim. The band figures out their name. Will writes a song with someone who shares his same love interests, which initially was a conflict. The truth about Deacon's illness is revealed to Rayna.
Rayna refuses to let Deacon wallow in his condition, but her support only frustrates him and pushes him away. Meanwhile, Avery, Gunnar and Scarlett are opening for Rascal Flatts on tour, but, when her past public meltdown haunts her on social media, Scarlett becomes wary of performing again.
Rayna plans a star-studded baby shower for Juliette, but gets distracted by Sadie's drama; Luke and Bucky both hope to sign Ron Pope, a rising singer-songwriter; Gunnar is upset as Scarlett and Dr. Rand grow closer.
With the arrival of his former fiancee in Nashville, Jeff finds himself face-to-face with Jade St. John (played by Christina Aguilera). A powerhouse pop-star in Nashville on tour, Jeff is forced to revisit his past and work with the woman who once played a large role in both his personal and professional lives.
The brightest stars of Nashville have gathered in support of Teddy's music education initiative, "Note By Note," where Juliette plans her return to the spotlight, and Layla finds herself thrust into it, alongside Jade St. John. At the gala, Rayna, Deacon, Maddie and Daphne get ready to take the stage and perform, but before they can, Deacon receives the call he's been waiting for containing some life-changing news.