OFFSTAGE: Chatting With Nashville‘s Gunnar Scott and Scarlett O’Connor

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Gunnar and Scarlett just signed a songwriting deal. They were discovered at the Bluebird Café. And it’s causing a little bit of trouble with Scarlett’s jealous boyfriend, Avery. Yes, I realize that the plot of the ABC series, Nashville, isn’t real. But it feels real to me. And when I had the chance to catch up with Gunnar and Scarlett — sorry, Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen — last week at the BMI Awards on Nashville’s real Music Row, it felt even more so. Because both actors actually are songwriters. “To audition for Gunnar’s part was a dream job because I’m a songwriter myself and have been playing in bands for years,” Palladio told me about getting cast for the role from London. “My style is a lot more ’70s folk-influenced, like James Taylor, who is my idol, and Crosby Stills & Nash and Neil Young. My music is in that realm. So it’s not quite country but certainly has those flavors to it.” Bowen, who just moved to Nashville from Australia and recently met fellow Aussie Keith Urban, seems to be loving the city, too. “I moved just a couple of months ago now, so this place is really new to me. But I seem to fit in,” Bowen said. “I live at the Bluebird. It’s like my second home.” When I asked her if any of her own songs would be making their way onto the show or into real life, she said that was all under wraps. So I’ll take that as a yes.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.