Interview: Sam Palladio talks Nashville Farewell Tour, Original Music, Black Deer Festival and more

It is a bittersweet time for Nashies’s at the moment. Nashville – the much loved TV show has had its last day of filming, the cast have had their farewell celebration and the farewell tour is underway.

What a six years it has been though, even people who aren’t fans of country music have come to embrace and adore this show, its characters, its stories and its glorious music. The cast have been sensational and we, the fans have been along for every step of the ride and it’s pretty tough to let it go and say goodbye.

One thing that this show has brought in such a magnificent way is its music and that music has not just been performed on the show by actors but by actors who are also musicians which has made every performance even more believable. We the UK, have been proud to have a brit be such a huge part of the show from day one. Sam Palladio has given us such a beautiful and emotional performance throughout the shows six seasons and we have loved him, been frustrated with him, yelled at the tv screen, cried with him and cared about his future.

With the UK leg of the Farewell tour being halfway through, we caught up with the lovely Sam Palladio who is probably one of the nicest and laid back people around. Sam spoke of his character Gunnar, the tour, the relationship with Scarlett as well as discussing his own music and playing at the first ever Black Deer Festival in Kent, UK.

We hope you enjoy our chat!

Hi Sam how are you?

I am good. We are in Glasgow at the SSE Hydro which is a fantastic space, we have been here the last couple shows now and it is always a fantastic crowd, we cannot wait.

You are on the Nashville Farewell tour – how has it been? It must be kind of bittersweet?

Yeah it is. You know it has so far had some incredible crowds, Birmingham was fantastic, everywhere was fantastic. We had a bit of a day off, an adventure day off in Edinburgh yesterday – Chris and I walked up Arthur’s Seat and ended up meeting some friendly locals and then ended up in little pubs and all sort of things, doing the tourist trail but slightly off the beaten track I guess which was great. We had a lovely farewell dinner – we always have a cast and crew dinner when we are up in Scotland and it was a lovely way to sort of give thanks to everybody and make them feel like they are doing a good job and to share some stories and reflect over the last six years which was hard to do but it has been quite a journey.

That actually makes me feel quite sad because like you said, it has been quite a journey and not just for cast and crew but for fans too who have been along for the ride since day one.

We have been on a great journey and for fans of the show we have told six years worth of cool stories. Fans have seen these characters evolve and go through so many different things and we have got to take this show on the road and we have extended the life of the characters in a way by bringing a new perception of the characters in a live music scenario but also we get to share our own music and share things that inspire us and it’s just a beautiful way to finish this journey.

Exactly and lets flash back to when you first landed the role of Gunnar – if I told you then that the show would lead to a live show at the O2 arena would you have believed me?

(Laughs)

Not at all no. At that point we hadn’t really thought, we hadn’t really processed the idea that we could take this music on the road and really it was like this beautiful extra element to a tv show, to storytelling. We were all so excited that we got to be in Nashville and record music and make music part of our job and then it suddenly dawned on us when we started putting the soundtracks out that there is a fantastic opportunity to play this music live. The songs on the show are so beautiful and so full of energy that we realised we should start a tour and that idea grew and grew. I think the first show that we ever did was in Chicago at a place called Joe’s Pub which was maybe about 800 people, it was standing room only and we got this incredible response and it was just a really fun, rocky night and we were like “wow ok, I think this is going to work” and from then on it has just sort of grown and we got to tour in the UK which is lovely for me to be able to come home and see some family and friends and celebrate the life of this show. Yeah, I would never have believed you if you said we would be playing the O2 Arena. I have seen so many shows there and I got to play a tiny acoustic show there a few years ago at C2C Festival and that was a real bucket list moment but to come back as the headline act is something pretty different.

As you were saying earlier, you get to perform your own material as well as songs from the show Were you ever nervous about that of worried people were just there to see the characters or were you just excited?

There is always a bit of nerves when you are putting your own artistic material on the line. We play characters and get given the lines to say and the words to sing but there is a deeper connection when you share some personal material or a story that inspired a song. It’s always an extra exciting element of the show for the fans because they get to know us and we get a bit more humanised if you see what I mean? If they have only ever seen us on the tv show and haven’t been to any live shows then you sort of expect to see the character you see on tv but it is also great to break that barrier and share some truths. So yeah, it is a thrill to get to share some original material and to be playing them at the O2 is pretty special, a dream.

I think I speak for every fan when I say Wake me up in Nashville is a song so many of us love and a story we all love to hear time and time again.

Oh thank you

Will we ever get a studio version of the song?

I did a few recordings over the years but nothing has quite captured it but I did just do a recording just before I left for the tour that I have been sending emails back and forth about and listening to it and checking up on it. I am dying to release it, that song particularly has been important to me and I have taken that song on every tour with me and the entire journey. It was the first song I wrote in Nashville – it has a beautiful connection to my family and through all these wonderful tours and people have always loved it. It is coming don’t worry, it is something I owe the fans and am working hard to get the best version of it and to honour my grandad.

Yes and as I say we love the story behind it (see the video above to hear Sam tell the story behind the song, it’s a 360 video so will need to move it around on screen which is pretty cool, look out for other cast members in the audience)

I have to ask, did your grandad ever write to that girlfriend and say “sorry, fell asleep, have a nice life?”

He did haha. Thankfully she wasn’t stood up and never knew what happened. He got a letter to her a month or two later apologising. I think she was pretty heartbroken to be honest but the air was cleared don’t worry. Actually my family have made contact with her family – I don’t know how my aunty did it but she is a bit of a genius and she managed to track down the family too to share the story of how their whirlwind romance has inspired some great things down the line

That is amazing. Another song that I love of yours that you played at the CMA Songwriters series is Lightning Bones

Oh yeah, thank you so much, that one is a goodie. That is actually on a recording that we have made. I guess we are actually at a phase now where I am finally available to put music out and tour and support it and I am doing some shows in the summer in the UK. It’s funny because shooting a tv show for ten months, you’re not able to focus on putting out a good record and touring it and focusing on all the things you need to do so hence why no music has come out over the years , you just want it to have the best chance it can have and I didn’t want to rush it. I guess now is the right time as a new chapter begins.

You mentioned that you will be over in the summer for some shows, one you will be part of is the first ever Black Deer Festival which we cannot wait for and you will be playing the same bill as your friends Striking Matches.

Yeah yeah it looks awesome and I cannot wait to play it. Yes Striking Matches are playing and The Wandering Hearts, one of my best buddies AJ is in The Wandering Hearts.

Oh really?

Yeah we lived together for about two years so he is a dear dear friend. I am also excited to be in the same line up as Jason Isbell and Passenger. Passenger is one of my absolute favourites and Iron and Wine.

I can’t wait to go and to see your set too

Thank you

How do you relate to Gunnar and if you were friends in real life, What relationship advice would you give him about Scarlett?

Oh man haha! I have so much love for the guy. I think we would get on really well in the real world, we are basically the same guy haha. It has been fun watching this guy grow, make mistakes and just be human. I think he is a bit of an everyman which is nice as he’s not the rock star at the front of the stage, he has always been a step behind , always had hurdles here and there, lots of family and emotional stuff to overcome so its been great as an actor to sort of overcome. The relationship problems, he is a lover, he sort of falls hard and in a split second. He and Scarlett make beautiful music together and always have and I think it’s a representation of one of those relationships that are true to life, not everything works out but that’s ok, some things just aren’t meant to be no matter how much you force them to be or wish they would be but we find ways to deal with it and move on and I think Gunnar is in a place where he will always love Scarlett. They have helped each other grow and I wish him all the best.

We haven’t seen the finale yet but without giving too much away, are you satisfied with the end of the series?

It’s a great ending. It’s a beautiful ending actually. I get some cool things just before the penultimate episode – Gunnar gets a big breakthrough moment by himself and I was fortunate to write Gunnar’s final song. The song he will sing that I wrote is just before “the” moment so it is really exciting and I am thrilled to have that. The song is called Going Electric and it is going to break him out of his acoustic shell and he will plug it in, let it loose, so it was a really fantastic way to end the show. The wonderful Steve Earle makes a great cameo , he is the one that shakes Gunnar and gets him out of his shell and inspires him to make some bad ass music haha.

It sounds like it will be a beautiful ending and I can’t wait to see it but am sad it will be the end and sad that we will never have such a beautiful bromance between yourself ,Chris and Jonathan again.

Oh it’s an eternal bromance don’t worry haha

Good. Thank you so much and have a blast on the rest of the tour and we will see you at Black Deer Festival

Awesome and thank you.

The Music Of Nashville Original Soundtrack Season 6 Volume 1

Pre Order Nashville in Concert on dvd below

Nashville in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall [DVD] [2018]

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