Nashville: Sam Palladio Talks Hitting The Charts & What’s Next For Gunnar & Scarlett

In the hours after “Nashville” made its debut on ABC last Wednesday night, “If I Didn’t Know Better,” the dreamy Bluebird Cafe duet between doe-eyed waitress Scarlett and earnest bar staff worker Gunnar, had already become a real life chart hit.

It’s something Sam Palladio, the English actor and musician, who plays the country hopeful on the drama, wasn’t actually expecting.

“I think it was probably two hours after the premiere that a friend of mine – we were just having a celebratory drink – and she goes, ‘You know you’re at No. 30 on the iTunes country music chart with that song?’” Sam told AccessHollywood.com during a break from filming in the city. “[I said], ‘What are you talking about?’ I thought she was just joking.”

It was no joke at all. By Thursday morning, Sam’s duet with Australian actress and songbird Clare Bowen (Scarlett) leapt into the Top 20 on the all-genres iTunes chart and to No. 5 on the country chart — in both lists alongside cuts from another Bluebird Cafe discovery – Taylor Swift.

“It just hadn’t occurred to me — the power and the whole buzz that it suddenly created and of course, the byproduct of that was people downloading the track,” he said. “That just hadn’t come into my brain that [something like that] was gonna happen.”

Like the chart success, finding out he and co-star Clare (who Sam met for the first time not long after landing in Nashville to begin shooting the premiere) were a magical musical match was a surprise too.

“Our first meeting really was in the lobby of [a] hotel in Nashville right before we met [singer, songwriter and producer] Buddy Miller upstairs to sing through the song for the first time. Having never sung with Clare and [because the scene is] such an important thru-line for the piece – that was really daunting,” Sam explained. “It wasn’t until we sat in the room and Buddy sort of gritted his teeth – ‘cause it’s a tricky song — that we kind of both started singing and the harmonies crept in and [it was like], ‘Oh, wow, this is working. This is good!’ Something about the tone of our voices together just instantly worked, so we were both kind of looking at each other going, ‘Oh!’”

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