Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is releasing a single, “Country Strong,” to country radio. The song shares its name with an upcoming movie, which stars Paltrow as Kelly Canter, a faded country star looking for a comeback. The film is scheduled to open nationally on Dec. 22.
The impact date for the single at country radio will be Aug. 23. Vince Gill and Patty Griffin provide background vocals on the single, which was written by Jennifer Hanson, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler. The soundtrack will be released on RCA Nashville on Oct. 26.
Filmed in and around Nashville last year, the project had formerly been titled Love Don’t Let Me Down. Tim McGraw plays Ed, her husband and manager. Garrett Hedlund plays Beau Williams, a rising country songwriter, while Leighton Meester portrays a former beauty queen with musical ambition. The movie was written and directed by Shana Feste.
In May, Paltrow told MTV News, “I had to learn how to play guitar, and I took singing lessons. It was a real challenge, but I felt like I pretty much pulled it off.” She also said that her character is “in various stages of undress” because of her struggles with a drug and alcohol problem. In other reports, she said she asked her husband, Chris Martin of Coldplay, to help her master the guitar.
A country fan, Feste told The Tennessean newspaper in February that more than 100 local musicians participated in the film and that songwriters such as Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey, Luke Laird, Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins had written songs for the movie. In addition, Nathan Chapman, Frank Liddell and Byron Gallimore helped produce the music. Part of the movie was filmed at the Fontanel Mansion, the former home of Barbara Mandrell.
Paltrow wrote enthusiastically about her time in Nashville for the Goop blog, describing her visits to the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium and local bluegrass club, Station Inn. She also described her meals at Nashville establishments like Swett’s, Prince’s Hot Chicken and Loveless Café.
Paltrow’s numerous film roles include Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Proof, Shallow Hal and The Talented Mr. Ripley. She won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Viola De Lesseps in the 1998 film, Shakespeare in Love.