- What was it like going from shooting Tron: Legacy on a sound stage to shooting this film on location in Nashville?

It was close to a sixty or seventy day shoot for Tron on stage in the suit. You can’t even sit down during the day because of all the cables that divide the foam rubber and the electrical circuits.

We had these stools that were this tall with a bicycle seat on it. You’re looking at fucking blue screen all day. To be able to wear jeans and a Levi button-up shirt was exactly what I wanted.

I became family with so many of the locals when I was there because of that month before. By the time I was filming, I was going down to a lot of the Lower Broad spots and a lot of these young musicians or even the guys in my band, like Chris Scruggs, would be up at Robert’s every night.

Chris Scruggs is the grandson of Earl Scruggs who is like the godfather of the banjo. It’s a famous family. There was a documentary made about them in the ‘70s. Randy Scruggs played the guitar on my tracks for Chances Are.

It’s fucking Randy Scruggs! On YouTube there are black and white videos of him and Earl Scruggs and Bob Dylan all in a room playing and Randy Scruggs is just seventeen and won’t take his eyes off Dylan.

Now he’s playing guitar for me. The other band members, when they’d be up at Robert’s I’d go up and get up and sing a song. I was basically becoming a lot more comfortable with the auditorium scenes just by getting up on stage and doing it. One time at The Station Inn, I got up and, at the table right in front of me was this guy Jim Lauderdale, who wrote and played with George Jones.

He was in Gwyneth’s band as a guitarist and he was playing at The Station Inn and at intermission he said, I want you to play Chances Are and teach the band it and sing it for the audience.

I said, 'Alright.' There I am after six or seven months of learning how to play the guitar and now I’m teaching this band how to play it? I said, 'We go from ‘G’ and then we jump down to ‘C’ and bring it back to ‘D’. Now just bring it again. Yup, that’s it, that’s it.'

We get up on stage and play it. Right in front of us are Gwyneth and Chris Martin and Caleb, the lead singer of Kings of Leon, and Faith Hill and Dierks Bentley. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. 

- What was it like filming On the Road?

Six months on the road. It was such a journey guerilla shoot with the most incredible family with Walter Salles directing.

He’s put such work into this film over the past six or seven years. I’ve been attached since September of 2007 trying to get this project made. On the first day on set, I was like, 'We’re fucking filming ‘On the Road’!'

Today’s the day after we just finished. Yesterday morning I was driving across the Bay Bridge in a Hudson, wrapped at eleven, jumped on a plane to get back here, cut my hair and went straight to the Tron premiere.

It was unfortunate to be partial with the family you’ve come to just love so immensely on this journey. We went from Montreal to South America to Argentina to Patagonia up to New Orleans, Arizona, Mexico, Calgary, Montreal. We just wrapped in San Francisco. I watched the Fourth of July turn into Christmas.

- What did you like about your character in this film?

I liked the soul of him. He was kind of a young Kris Kristofferson. Sort of poetic and tender and just happy to be playing for a bunch of hard working people that like to have a beer while they listen to good music.

This was a happy home for him. I think I like the message of what he was about at the end of the day: choosing love over fame. That was a big one. When that line comes up in the film, I think the whole audience is going to be questioning that key line and formulating their own opinions of it.

- Are you going to keep playing music?

In my own time. It’s funny, I was on set and Terrance Howard came over to play a role in On the Road and we worked together in Four Brothers and became really close. He played a lot of guitar on that and I would just sit back.

He’s going at it; he’s phenomenal at the flamenco and Spanish guitar rhythm. The night he wrapped in Montreal, he came to my room with a bottle and a guitar. This time we took turns. We must have played fifteen songs apiece.

He’s like, 'Garrett, why don’t you have your guitar?' And I said, 'My character, Neal Cassady doesn’t play the guitar. It’s all about the jazz and the writing.'

He goes, 'Yeah, but Garrett does.' That was the moment where I was like, I’ve gotta keep the guitar with me at all time.  

- Now that On the Road has wrapped, what other movies do you have lined up?

Nada. I’m very fortunate to be a part of these projects. Now I’ll be able to sit back and read some books and try to enjoy the time a little more than being tossed around.  

- Are you playing your favorite type of country in this movie? The singer-songwriter type?

Yeah, most definitely. Hayes Karll, who wrote Hard out Here and Turn Loose the Horses and Hide Me Babe I get to text him once in a while and see where he’s at in the world.

He’ll say, 'Drinking in Virginia tonight. Was in Nashville last night. Hope you’re well.' It’s pretty cool.

Country Strong is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now.