At only 28, multitalented Texan Savannah Welch already has a lifetime of incredible acting experience under her belt.
One of her first gigs was a two-week nocturnal shoot with Quentin Tarantino as a bar-crowd extra in his “Grindhouse” bloodbath “Death Proof.”
Her most recent? A coveted role in Terrence Malick’s visionary “Tree of Life.”
“I played a young wife in the ’50s, the next-door neighbor to the protagonist character’s — or Brad Pitt’s — family,” she says of the unusual part. “I knew what my character was, vaguely, but I never knew what the story line was — [Malick] basically pieced the story together after he shot all his footage.”
There was only one audition that Welch didn’t nail — a solo guitar-strumming cameo for “When Angels Sing,” an upcoming Christmas flick with Harry Connick Jr.
The director loved her vocals, but decided to hire her full ensemble instead — The Trishas, an all-girl alt-country outfit from Austin, Texas, who play in The City on Saturday. “So we got to play carolers, and Harry comes to the door, then slams it,” she says. “They gave us two takes and we were done for the day.”
Acting was all Welch ever considered as a career. But genetics won out. As the daughter of troubadour Kevin Welch, she was immersed in his music from childhood.
Three years ago, she and pals Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee and Jamie Wilson all happened to be attending a MusicFest tribute to her father in Steamboat Springs, Colo., when someone suggested they team up. “The Trishas were a total accident,” she says.
They performed “Too Old to Die Young,” a song Kevin penned when Savannah was 4. “It’s essentially a prayer to get to watch your children grow up to see what they become,” Welch says. “So us singing that in four-part harmony around one mic? Everyone in the room was crying by the end of the song, and when we got off the stage everybody said, ‘You guys need to do this! Be a girl band!’”
The result? The whiskey-seasoned new 15-track bow “High, Wide & Handsome,” in which each woman sings lead on at least three songs. It’s a rock-solid set.
Welch’s co-written songs such as “Cheater’s Game” and “Over Forgiving You” are old-school Nashville and rooted in her dad’s philosophy: “Just write from a place of truth — don’t try to get too fancy,” she says.
Welch took the last year off to have a son, Charlie, and relocate to Dallas with her beau. “So I’ve just started auditioning again,” she says. “But The Trishas are booked several months in advance now, and film stuff is always last minute. So I’ll be lucky if it times right.”
IF YOU GO
Opening for Band of Heathens
Where: Café Du Nord, 2170 Market St., S.F.
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $12 to $15
Contact: (415) 861-5016; www.ticketweb.com