For fans of the TV show Nashville, Sam Palladio needs no introduction. Originally from Cornwall, he’s played singer-songwriter Gunnar Scott on the drama series for six years. Now, with the final episode airing last week in the US, Palladio has begun branching out into a music career. He’s been a regular feature on Nashville’s UK tours but has also been performing in his own right, including at this year’s Nashville Meets London festival in Canary Wharf.
Palladio kicked off his performance with Hello Heartbreak Blues, an original track which has become a staple of his shows. The song started off with a sparse, acoustic intro before breaking into a swinging rhythm. It showed off the richness and tone in Palladio’s voice and I liked the mix of traditional country and blues in the melody.
During his set Palladio combined songs from Nashville with his own original music, with a diverse range of influences on show. Gun For A Mouth and Goin’ Electric brought rock and roll vibes with gravelly vocals that almost became a yell in places, whilst the driving Can’t Get It Right and the twangy, pulsing Headed For The Fire highlighted Palladio’s soulful side.
Palladio also performed a couple of songs which had appeared on Nashville as duets with Clare Bowen (who played his musical and former romantic partner Scarlett). His solo take on I Will Fall had a much more subdued, downbeat feel compared to the duet, and saw him hit a huge note at the end. Meanwhile, Fade Into You – which got the biggest cheer of the set – took on a traditional barroom feel with the addition of the piano and the stripped-back approach really emphasised the yearning in his voice.
Alongside the Nashville songs, Palladio also performed some brand new tracks, including the gospel-influenced Goodbye You and Lightning Bolt, which featured honky-tonk piano and a classic rock feel. However, for me the standout was Ghost, a track Palladio wrote with Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil. It’s a layered, rock-influenced number with a soaring chorus and a steady beat, and Palladio’s performance packed a surprising amount of power.
After thanking the audience, Palladio closed his set with Never Come Back Again. It’s a piano-led number with blues and rock influences, a steady beat and a huge chorus, and for me sums up the mix of styles in his music really well. There was a great clarity to his vocal throughout and as he jammed with his band he looked like he was having a fantastic time. The crowd whooped and cheered as he finished and I suspect they would have liked him to play for a lot longer.
This is the third time I’ve seen Sam Palladio live this year and he’s improved every time. His stage presence is increasingly confident, with self-deprecating jokes and storytelling aplenty, and he struck a good balance between original songs and Nashville numbers. Although there were some songs which were noticeable by their absence – particularly the fan favourite Wake Me Up In Nashville – it’s clear that he’s settling into his own musical style and going from strength to strength. He promised there’d be new music released by the end of the year and personally I can’t wait to hear it!
Set list: 1. Hello Heartbreak Blues 2. Can’t Get It Right 3. Gun For A Mouth 4. Goin’ Electric 5. Headed For The Fire 6. Driftwood 7. Adios Old Friend 8. I Will Fall 9. Ghost 10. Goodbye You 11. Lightning Bolt 12. Fade Into You 13. Never Come Back Again Performance date: 28th July 2018