Rayna learns that her record label wants her to tour as the opening act for newcomer Juliette Barnes, and when she refuses, the stage is set for the ultimate power struggle for popularity. Complicating matters, Lamar's drive for power results in backing Teddy in a run for Mayor of Nashville, against Rayna's wishes.
Teddy's mayoral campaign is moving ahead and Rayna reluctantly endures an investigation that reveals some explosive family secrets. Meanwhile Coleman Carlisle is starting to lay down the groundwork for his campaign when he discovers Lamar is poised to go head to head with him even if it means exposing his longtime friend; Juliette, who will stop at nothing when it comes to getting her hands on Deacon, sees him perform with Rayna at the Bluebird, and it's clear that not all feelings fade with time; and Scarlett is torn between pursuing her dream of songwriting with Gunnar and her commitment to Avery.
Rayna immerses herself in her kids' lives and her husband's campaign, and is sobered to learn that she and Teddy are facing financial ruin; Juliette offers Deacon an exclusive contract to write and tour with her; and Juliette's troubled mother, Jolene, re-enters her daughter's life in dramatic fashion. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunnar's big break with Watty is threatened.
Rayna and Teddy's relationship is tested when Rayna performs with Deacon at Teddy's campaign fundraiser and a woman from Teddy's past (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) shows up with a secret. Meanwhile, Juliette tries to burnish her image with an appearance on "Good Morning America" and is interviewed by Robin Roberts; Gunnar makes a connection with his publisher's assistant, Hailey; and Teddy and Coleman agree to take the moral high ground during the campaign -- but will it last?
Rayna considers moving on after Deacon starts to set boundaries in their relationship; Juliette struggles with her mom's addictions and Deacon offers a helping hand -- which leads to difficult memories from his past; Teddy is worried that his mayoral campaign will be derailed when his past with Peggy and his financial troubles border on being exposed; and tension with Avery and Gunnar is at a boiling point, as Scarlet feels the pressure to pick her path.
Rayna wants to change her sound and seeks out the help of a highly successful music producer, Liam McGuinnis, played by Michiel Huison ("Treme"); Juliette goes on a sham date with a squeaky-clean NFL quarterback as a PR move for her tarnished image; meanwhile, Lamar's plan to delay Coleman with a police traffic stop on his way to an important photo op for both candidates works too well, and Scarlett's relationship with Avery gets rocky.
Marshall Evans continues to pressure Rayna and Juliette to collaborate at an event at the Ryman theater, Teddy is forced to reveal the truth to Rayna when Peggy's desperation hits its peak, and in an effort to move past her failed relationship to Avery, Scarlett finds herself closer to Gunnar.
Rayna needs to take a look at what's really important to her after hearing Teddy's side of the story about Peggy; Juliette feels a sense of belonging with Sean's family that she has never experienced before; Gunnar risks his partnership with Scarlett when he confesses his feelings; and music producer Dominic Wells invites Avery to Atlanta to work together while Deacon gets an amazing offer to tour -- but both opportunities come with a price.
Rayna and Juliette are locked for their tour. When Rayna suggests taking her girls with her, she finds that Lamar's not above holding her hostage with some long forgotten family secrets. To everyone's surprise Juliette and Sean have eloped, though not everyone is celebrating. Deacon reconnects with a former flame, and Avery follows the advice of a new music producer that puts more space between him, the band and Scarlett.
Rayna and Juliette get ready to perform in San Diego in their first arena concert on the same bill. Rayna finds that working without Deacon is too disruptive and makes an interesting proposal to Liam, while Juliette sends Sean a message through the press. Gunnar takes a road trip to Austin to visit his brother, and Scarlett tags along for the ride so she can catch Deacon's performance in Texas with the Revel Kings. Meanwhile Avery makes his move to sign with Dominic, and Teddy and Coleman's campaigns find them in a dead heat.
Edgehill Records celebrates the success of "Wrong Song" with a lavish party attended by Rayna, Juliette and real-life country stars including Brantley Gilbert and Chris Young (who cameo as themselves). But the party gets awkward for Juliette, who brings her mom along, and for Rayna when she's aggressively pursued by Calista (Ming-Na Wen), an exec from a competing record label. Meanwhile Teddy confronts Rayna about his suspicions over her relationship with Liam, Gunnar deals with family issues and Avery gets too comfortable with his newfound success.
Rayna begins to settle into the tour when she discovers that Deacon has joined Juliette's band on the road, and she can't help but think that maybe the time has come to make some hard decisions. But will a heart to heart with Deacon help ease the sting of the revelation? Meanwhile Juliette is tired of her bubble gum pop success and is interested in exposing who she really is, though her team is convinced that will damage her commercial success. And Scarlett is counting pennies to keep her head above water until Gunnar makes her an offer she can't refuse.
Rayna finds comfort in the arms of an old friend after revealing to Daphne and Maddie her plans to divorce. Juliette is invigorated by the response to her new sound and takes steps to reinvent herself -- against the guidance of her management. Things are looking up for Scarlett and Gunnar when Rayna makes an offer to sign them to her label. While their hard work begins to show signs of success, Avery struggles to find his old sound and is forced to consider an attractive offer.
Juliette plans a surprise birthday party for Deacon, which is attended by real-life country stars Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Vince Gill, Pam Tillis, Kate York and Kip Moore. During the celebration, Rayna sings, backed up by Pam Tillis and Kate York as themselves, Watty White (JD Souther) and Adria (Erin McCarley). However, Juliette's own performance is derailed by her mother. As Rayna and Teddy's divorce moves forward, the tabloids move in, speculating about Rayna's cheating and thrusting her children into the spotlight; Teddy decides to bring Peggy into his mayoral fold and holds a press conference to make it look like it's all business; and Gunnar's brother charms Scarlett with his singing.
Katie Couric guest stars as herself when Rayna appears on the "Katie" show, trying to set the record straight about her marriage and balancing her career with motherhood. Juliette attempts to take her album launch into her own hands but it backfires when she tweets out a surprise concert location. Maddie lies to Teddy about her whereabouts -- with dangerous consequences -- and Deacon is drawn to his dog's pretty new veterinarian, Stacey. Meanshile Avery tries to control his musical destiny by flouting Dominic and Marilyn, and things are awkward between Scarlett and Gunnar, as he continues to process his brother's death.
Rayna takes her children and sister with her on tour in NYC, but Rayna doesn't like the influence Juliette is having on her daughters. Meanwhile Dante gives Juliette some career guidance that helps her see him in a whole new way; Deacon's feelings for Stacey force him to reconsider his life on the road; a hunky new neighbor, Will (Chris Carmack), befriends Gunnar and Scarlett; Gunnar is thrown by Scarlett's hiding information from him; Lamar threatens Peggy; and Avery jeopardizes his own future.
A personal crisis in Nashville causes Rayna to leave the tour in New York City before her sold-out concert with Juliette, but for Juliette, the show must go on. Jolene stakes a claim on her sober counselor Dante as Juliette gets closer to him personally and professionally, and Deacon doesn't like the woman Juliette has become and tells her point-blank. Gunnar declares the next 24 hours a "Scarlett O'Connor party" to celebrate her success, and she brings Will along to join the fun. Meanwhile Avery becomes a roadie for Juliette, and secrets involving the men in Rayna's life see the light of day.
Liam invites Rayna to run away with him to finish her album, and Deacon is surprised by his own reaction, as well as Stacy's accusations; Jolene warns Juliette about Dante's loyalty, which only drives the two women further apart; Teddy faces off with Peggy about the leaks, and in the wake of her father's illness, Tandy proposes a new alliance to Coleman. Meanwhile Gunnar tries out some new music, and Avery and Scarlett reconnect.
Rayna and Juliette are both nominated for CMA Awards and Edgehill Records hosts a party in their honor. Meanwhile Teddy worries about his relationship with Maddie, Juliette copes with new challenges, Scarlett is concerned about Gunnar, and tension grows between him and Will.
Rayna finds an unlikely ally in Lamar when he sides with her against Teddy about the girls. Jolene sees Juliette struggling and tries to find a way to help. Avery and Will, separately, both get a chance to shine with bigger stars -- but will it translate to career gold? And Tandy takes her own agenda to the board of Wyatt Industries.
A shadow has been cast over country music's biggest night: Juliette discovers a letter from Jolene revealing her mother's true feelings; Rayna and Deacon's fairytale evening at the CMA Awards, even performing with Brad Paisley - who guest stars as himself -- may not end in a happily-ever-after; and Gunnar will do whatever it takes to win Scarlett's heart back -- but is it too late? Meanwhile the U.S. Attorney's office is closing in on Teddy, and Peggy returns with a secret of her own.