Country music has a new leading family, courtesy of the FOX drama Monarch, which stars Trace Adkins as the “Texas truth teller” patriarch, Albie Roman and Susan Sarandon as his wife and fierce matriarch Dottie Cantrell Roman.
Set in Austin, Texas, Monarch has the musical integrity of fellow country music drama Nashville, but with a darker intensity that matches the size of the Lonestar State.
The Romans created a country music empire based on authenticity, but the foundation of their success is on shaky ground with a secret. Their reign as country music’s first family is in danger, so daughter and heir to the throne Nicky Roman (played by Anna Friel) will not be stopped in her pursuit of protecting her family’s legacy and her own dreams of stardom.
Her brother, Luke Roman (played by Joshua Sasse), is CEO of the family business Monarch Entertainment but can never seem to earn his father Albie’s approval, no matter how hard he tries. The youngest of the Roman children is Gigi Tucker-Roman (played by Beth Ditto), who has always been treated like an outcast in her own family, in spite of her enviable talent.
During a private screening of Monarch’s first episode, Trace Adkins spoke to Music Mayhem and other media about what fans can expect from the show, which airs on Tuesdays at 9 PM ET on FOX.
Adkins developed a fondness for his on-screen daughter Gigi, played by singer-songwriter Beth Ditto, formerly of the indie rock band Gossip.
“I love her, my little Arkansas hillbilly,” says Adkins.
On the set of Monarch, there was a dialect coach to help the actors authentically portray the Texas accent. “I’m the only one that he never had to say anything to, cause I’m just doing Texas,” boasted Adkins. Some of the British actors needed some help nailing the dialect, but Ditto had the opposite problem.
“He would go to her and go, ‘That’s too country,’” Adkins laughed. “That’s the way she really talks, you know, she’s from Arkansas.”
The “Hillbilly Bone” singer shared why he enjoyed working with Ditto. “She’s funny. I don’t think people realize just how funny she is. She’s got such a great wit and she’s so quick. She made me laugh every day.”
In addition to Ditto and Sarandon, Adkins’ co-stars include Golden Globe nominee Anna Friel and Joshua Sasse of “Galavant.” Fans can also expect to see even more star power from the country music world with guest appearances by Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Little Big Town and Tanya Tucker throughout the season.
Monarch made its initial debut on Sept. 11 and continues its special two-night event on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9 PM ET on FOX.