'Nashville' Stars Sam Palladio & Chris Carmack Say Goodbye to Their Characters, Share Stories of Meeting Vince Gill

Nashville stars Sam Palladio and Chris Carmack sat down with Billboard’s Kevan Kenney to discuss what fans can expect from the final episodes of their hit television show, and to reflect upon their experiences both living and working in the country music capital.

One key topic that Carmack discusses regarding his character Will Lexington is his health scare, which will come to a head in the mid-season finale. “There’s a lot going on with Will right now and it stems primarily from this break-up that he had at the end of last season,” he explains. “He runs into his ex. His ex is dating some young, buff-looking guy…it causes a lot of insecurity in him that he’s probably never felt before. Now, Will also isn’t fronting a musical act any more. He’s not up there on stage, people aren’t cheering for him the way he once was. He feels forgotten. He feels invisible.”

He adds that Will’s reaction to the situation is to focus on working out and turning to “illicit substances” and that in the upcoming episode, his character is “starting to really reel from it” and is beginning to have some heart palpitations from his steroid usage. “I think all the drug use is really gonna catch up with him,” he says, “especially here in the mid-season finale.”

Asked about their time living in Nashville, both Carmack and Palladio cite Vince Gill as marking key moments in their experiences there. Palladio shares a story of one of the several times he performed at the Grand Ole Opry, which he considers to be a “huge honor,” when he passed by Gill – who was also performing that night – and waved at him. To Palladio’s delight, Gill responded, “What’s up, Sammy?”

“I was like, 'Oh, Vince Gill called me Sammy,'” exclaims Palladio. “I’ve made it! This is great! It’s that sort of family nature that the city captures and that country music is so built on.”

Carmack also shares a memorable anecdote about the musician, recalling a time he was watching the evening news and saw an interview with Gill during which he was asked about Nashville. The actor relates: “He told a story about how he ran into me at an antique guitar festival and I was playing blues guitar and he was like, ‘That guy’s actually a really good guitar player!’ And I’m watching it going, ‘Vince Gill just said I was a great guitar player on the news!'”

Carmack and Palladio also take some time to say goodbye to the characters they have been playing for six seasons. “I think [Gunner is] an immensely talented guy,” states Palladio. “I would love to see him go on to do some great things, and I think the partnership he built with Scarlett way back at the beginning was a beautiful foundation, and I think he’s got a lot to give and maybe we’re gonna see a taste of that as we wrap up the season but… I just wish him luck, and hold onto the dream, man. Keep writing those great songs. I love you brother!”

Meanwhile, Carmack wants Will to know “that you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Just find some happiness in you life. Find somebody that’s gonna make you happy and keep making music in a capacity that it makes you happy and fills you up. Don’t worry about what people think of you or the business’ stamp of approval.”

You can watch the full video interview above. The mid-season finale of Nashville airs tonight on CMT.