Where the Heart Is Premieres in Nashville

RCA artists lend their voices to soundtrack

A packed house turned out for Wednesday night’s (April 19) Nashville premiere of the new Ashley Judd-Natalie Portman movie Where the Heart Is, and among the crowd were Martina McBride, Sara Evans and several of their RCA labelmates who sang on the film’s soundtrack.

“This is actually the first premiere I’ve been to where I’ve had a song in the movie,” McBride said as she entered on the red carpet. “I read the book, so I’m anxious to see how they made it into a movie.”

The film, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, chronicles the story of Novalee Nation, a young woman whose white-trash boyfriend leaves her pregnant at a Wal-Mart store. Alone and homeless, she lives in the Wal-Mart until she has her baby, then she sets out to find a new life in a strange Oklahoma town. Novalee is played by Portman, with Judd in the role of Lexie, a nurse who befriends the young mother. Stockard Channing and Sally Field both make excellent turns in supporting roles.

Unlike McBride, Evans already had seen a rough cut of the movie but still dressed up to attend the premiere. When asked who designed her dress, she didn’t know.

“You know, I have a seven-month-old baby at home, and I’m lucky to even be here with makeup on,” she joked.

For the soundtrack, Evans sings with the Warren Brothers on “That’s the Beat of a Heart,” a recording experience she enjoyed for the most part.

“Brad Warren mooned me when I was doing my part [in the studio], but other than that it was great,” she said.

Featured prominently during a pivotal love scene is newcomer Jennifer Day’s cut “Completely,” which she wrote with Nashville tunesmiths Tommy Lee James and Liz Hengber.

“It was actually intended for my album, and we had no clue it would fit so perfectly into this movie,” Day said. “It’s one of my favorite songs. It reminds me of my husband a lot.”

Also in the crowd was Kenny Chesney, who showed up to support his labelmates even though he doesn’t appear on the soundtrack. Other artists who do have a cut on the album include Lonestar, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett as well as newcomers Shannon Curfman, Coley McCabe and 3 of Hearts.

The soundtrack to Where the Heart Is hit record stores Tuesday (April 18). The movie arrives in theaters April 28.