Both Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio are doing a little moonlighting in their rare time off from filming Nashville. Bowen, who plays struggling songwriter Scarlett O’Connor on the ABC musical drama, and Palladio, who plays rags-to-riches songwriter Gunnar Scott, are each prepping solo albums (as themselves) for 2015.
“We’ve recorded a couple things and I’ve been writing and writing and writing,” Bowen tells Rolling Stone Country. “I’ve met some wonderful people who are generous with their time and creativity. That’s the way Nashville is as a city.”
Bowen, who is a classically-trained singer with an ethereal, Alison Krauss-like voice, has teamed with legendary producer T Bone Burnett — who has also worked with Krauss and with the entire Nashville cast — for the album. She’s hoping it will come out next year, but also sees great creative value in taking her time.
“It’s my first album,” she says. “I’ve never done anything like this, so I want it to be me.”
The actor who plays her love interest on the show — well, one of them — is also doing a lot of songwriting in his adopted hometown. Palladio got his musical start as a teenager at home in England, where he played in rock bands and honed his songwriting craft. Coming across the pond has opened his eyes to more genres of music, which have inched their way onto his upcoming solo debut.
“This job [on Nashville] has been such an incredible platform for me. It’s developed my music and my style,” he tells Rolling Stone Country. “I’m really close to my first record. The songs are done; I’ve been writing like crazy over the last few years. So I’m really excited to press the ‘go’ button on that, and in the next six months or so have people hear my original stuff.”
Palladio, who also has a recurring role on the Showtime sitcom Episodes, says he is not sure if he’ll release a whole album first, or start out with a five-song EP. Regardless, the collection’s vibe will be what he describes as “indie-folk-rock.”
“I’ve been influenced by Americana and country while I’ve been here [in Nashville], but there’s a lot of rock in there,” he reports.
Bowen and Palladio are in good musical company on the set of Nashville. Almost all of the lead actors are musicians outside the show, as well. Jonathan Jackson (“Avery Barkley”) fronts a rock band called Jonathan Jackson + Enation, which released its fourth album last month. Charles Esten (“Deacon Claybourne”) has been dipping his toes in the Nashville songwriting world, crafting tunes with such hitmakers as Jeffrey Steele and Deana Carter — with whom he wrote “I Know How to Love You Now,” a song he performed on the show’s Season Three premiere. Esten, Jackson, Bowen, Palladio and several of their castmates have also performed at the Grand Ole Opry and other local music venues, immersing themselves in both the musical and philanthropic worlds of Nashville. And a dozen of the show’s actors — including leading ladies Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere — sing on the new Christmas With Nashville album.
“The best thing about filming a show called Nashville is filming it in Nashville,” says Bowen. “This place is so creative, it’s its own character.”