Cornish singer and actor Sam Palladio is best known for his role as Gunnar Scott in the TV series Nashville, but has also been making a name for himself as a solo artist. Last night he took time off from the show’s UK tour to support Chris Shiflett at The Water Rats in London, and I was lucky enough to be in the audience.
Sam took the stage alone with an acoustic guitar and received a rapturous response from the crowd. He then launched into I Will Fall, one of his character’s signature songs from Nashville. Although usually performed as a duet, I felt that he definitely maintained the emotion in his solo version and the arrangement showcased the tone in his voice very well.
Most of the songs in Sam’s set were his own material, including songs he’d performed on the Nashville tour earlier in the week such as Headed For The Fire – which sounded much more sparse and restrained compared with the full band version – and the yearning Hello Heartbreak Blues. He also played some new tracks including the politically charged Death Disco, slinky ballad Sugar and A Little F****d Up, which matched an uptempo melody with darker lyrics. I liked seeing the different sides to his personality through these songs and the mix of styles throughout. As the performance went on he also seemed to loosen up a lot and had good banter with the crowd.
The standout song for me was Homecoming Queen, recounting the breakup of his girlfriend’s parents’ marriage, which included some dark humour yet had a very subdued tone to it. Sam followed that with Wake Me Up In Nashville, telling the story of his grandfather’s relationship with an American girl and missing his train stop to see her for the last time. Both songs showed off his storytelling skills really well and you could feel the emotion in his voice. Finally, he rounded off the set with Lightning Bones, which allowed him to show off the power in his voice as well as the flourishes in his guitar playing and wordplay in the verses.
Overall I was really impressed with Sam’s performance. He showed that he can do uptempo songs as well as ballads and is able to put his own spin on things, as well as being a great storyteller and guitar player. He also announced he’s been working on a record which should be out by the end of the year, and I can’t wait to hear more from him.
Set list: 1. I Will Fall 2. Headed For The Fire 3. Hello Heartbreak Blues 4. Death Disco 5. Sugar 6. Fade Into You 7. A Little F****d Up 8. Homecoming Queen 9. Wake Me Up In Nashville 10. Lightning Bones Performance date: 14th June 2017