After years of playing heartthrob roles on TV shows like One Tree Hill and Gilmore Girls and movies like A Cinderella Story and Freaky Friday, Chad Michael Murray has a lot of experience with people “fangirling” over him.
However, on the set of CMT’s Sun Records, the tables were turned.
“I was just fangirling out over Darius Rucker,” Murray joked, recalling the days he spent on set filming scenes where his character, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, met with and recorded Johnny Bragg (portrayed by Rucker) and the Prisonaires.
“How many people get to sit in there and record Darius Rucker? Yeah, he’s playing Johnny Bragg, but he’s an unbelievably talented musician, and he’s singing live every take, and every single take, it’s perfect and it’s magic. It was just a really special moment,” reminisced Murray.
But Phillips’ visit with Bragg wasn’t all songs and smiles. The two had a very serious conversation about how Bragg wound up in jail and how his music got him through the tough times.
“Sam’s opening his eyes for the first time since the electroshock. He’s wondering if he wants to get back in the game, and then he hears this voice. And what he heard in Johnny Bragg’s voice was truth,” said Murray.
“It’s the same truth he heard when he was a kid in the cotton fields alongside the African Americans singing. He heard the truth from their pain and their sorrow, the same way he heard Johnny Bragg’s pain and sorrow in his voice.
“I think in that moment, he realized that this man understands life on a deeper level than any of us can possibly understand, and he’s singing about it, and everyone else can feel that and be touched by it, and that’s what I need to record. I need to put that out there for the world to see.”