When thinking of a short list of people who don't exactly strike me as "country"--in any way, shape, or form--I'd have to say actress Gwyneth Paltrow firmly lands in that particular group.
As she's a scion of Hollywood parents who seems to spend all her time in either Manhattan, Los Angeles, or London, it doesn't seem too offensive to assume Ms. Paltrow knows nothing about the country demographic. (For what it's worth, her husband, Coldplay's Chris Martin, doesn't strike me as much of a good ol' boy either.)
However, she is slated to play a country singer in the upcoming film Country Strong. And, she's doing it alongside one of the genre's biggest names--Tim McGraw, her costar. And, impressively, she took on the task of doing her own singing in the movie.
And--just one more and, I promise--here's the surprising part. Paltrow actually is quite a good country crooner.
Now, if you've heard her version of "Cruisin'," which she covered with Huey Lewis back in 2000 for the movie Duets, you know that Paltrow is overall not half-bad as a vocalist. Some actresses simply cannot sing, but she is not in that category. So I'm not totally shocked that she can competently handle a country tune.
She has a sweet, medium-range voice that lends itself well to the mellow title track of the movie, which is also the lead single and was released to country radio this week. Backup vocals from Vince Gill and Patty Griffin admittedly help things along, but Paltrow holds her own, on her own.
But don't take my word for it--you can listen to the song for yourself here at this site, which is dedicated to information on "Kelly Canter," Paltrow's character in the film. It'll be interesting to see how this single fares on the charts in the coming weeks.
Country Strong, which has Paltrow portraying a washed-up star looking for a comeback (McGraw plays her husband and manager) will open nationally December 22; the soundtrack will be out in October. The actress spent a good deal of time filming in Nashville, and wrote glowingly of the city on her lifestyle site, Goop.
What do you think of this Oscar-winning actress's turn as a country singer? Be sure to let me know.
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