About Chuck

Chuck Pinnell is a veteran member of Austin's vibrant film and music community, honing skills in both worlds since 1978. Much more recently Chuck joined the kinship of writers with the publication a deeply researched and well-recieved historical novel. Born into a West Texas ranching family, his work often recalls the past with authentic grit. Chuck’s guitar-based film scores (and albums) are unconventional evocations of mood, atmosphere, and narrative. In a long series of homegrown projects, many quite humble and some blessed with true significance—Pinnell has worked with an abiding stable of Austin greats and a proud number of bonafide Texas legends; including Jimmy LaFave and Eagle Pennell, James McMurtry and Rick Linklater, Jerry Jeff Walker and Al Rienert.

Chuck’s film scores include the influential indie classics The Whole Shoot’n Match and Last Night at the Alamo (acquired by the Criterion Collection in April 2022 as part of a collection of Texas films curated an introduced by Ethan Hawke), Al Rienert's award winning documentary An Unreal Dream:The Michael Morton Story (Audience Award winner at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and airing on CNN Films 2014- 2015), and collaborating with Peter Stopchinski on the lush guitar and orchestra score for Rienert's stirring follow-up, Audubon (originally airing on PBS in 2017 and streaming now on Amazon Prime). Album credits include the producer title on Dark River, a highly regarded Austin All Star compilation of re-imagined Civil War Era Classics, and another producer credit for the exceptional and inspiring 2021 Erin Ivey release, Solace in the Wild.

In 2016 Pinnell returned to a screenwriting project first begun in the 1980’s with his older brother, the late great independent film director Eagle Pennell—a long and challenging journey that ultimately led to the The Irish Singer—Chuck Pinnell’s first novel, the untold origin story of Billy the Kid, published by Sunstone Press in June of 2021.

At the close of 2022, Chuck Pinnell was hard at work on the 2nd and concluding novel of The Irish Singer duology, and adding guitar and mandolin to Peter Stopchinski’s brilliant score for the feature documentary—Cowboy Bourbonthe unlikely tale of how a small distillery in the heart of the Texas Hill Country ignited a nationwide movement in craft distilling. Cowboy Bourbon premiered at the Hill Country Film Festival in June of 2023 and won the Best In Texas award. Look for it soon on a streaming platform near you.

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Novelist and composer, weaving rich tapestries of music and story with a uniquely Texan authenticity.


Austin's Chuck Pinnell, active since 1978, is known for unique guitar scores in films, for well-produced albums, and vividly written historical novels.