Does Paltrow Make Country Strong?

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Does Paltrow Make Country Strong?

Back when Gwyneth Paltrow did that karaoke movie and duet with Huey Lewis, I remember thinking she had a nice enough voice. And, now, having seen her recent performance of “Country Strong” on the CMA Awards, that judgment has been confirmed. However, a nice enough voice does not an artist make, does not even a singer make.

As anyone watching the CMAs can verify, Paltrow knows fewer guitar chords than Natalie Maines. Undoubtedly, with three other acoustic players on stage and nary a pick in her hand, Gwynnie's Gibson wasn't even turned on.



Hey, I admire her courage to get up there and hold her own as well as she did. But I have to wonder how a pseudo-poser like that makes the legends of the art feel. I mean, maybe Reba McEntire is figuring they are even since she dabbles in acting which would be Paltrow's rightful sand box.

Perhaps the same could be said of George Strait. He got himself bit by that little acting bug back with Pure Country and did not too badly for himself. I reckon Jerry Reed, Kris Kristofferson, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett, Tim McGraw, and Dwight Yoakam wouldn't be able to throw any stones, either. Nor Taylor Swift, for that matter, not that she has reached legend status yet.

Hell, even Willie Nelson has some IMDB credits.

Seems the saloon door between country music and Hollywood swings both ways, and more often in the opposite direction than I had estimated.

Does such miscegenation of the forms weaken or fortify them? If not for her accumulated celebrity, Gwyneth might very well warrant nary a second look from Music Row. Is that fair to the singers and songwriters who strive day in and out to perfect their craft in the myriad clubs of Nashville? Probably not.

At least she didn't completely embarrass herself, making a total mockery of country music along the way. Otherwise, Patsy Cline might well be rolling over in her grave.

Comments [12]

minniesota's picture

A star who can sing but is shy about it

This reminds me that Meryl Streep is one actress who can really sing well but she is shy about singing.

Here she is in Postcards from the Edge:

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Tex's picture

Thanks for the reminder, Minnie!

Meryl and Lily Tomlin "My Minnesota Home" for you....


Twitter Time @kdhales

SMBrown's picture

Well Gwyneth can certainly

Well Gwyneth can certainly sing better than country phenom Taylor Swift--not that that's saying much!  

I'm still scratching my head about Swift's success.  I was a captive to network TV (and no internet!) this Thanksgiving and so I checked out her special, having only seen bits of her on awards shows and SNL--where she was actually a fab host and displayed better acting than singing chops.  

Anyway, on the plus side, I think she's a lovely girl and I like the fact that she writes her own stuff, and her lyrics are certainly better than "Oops, I Did It Again."  But she has a really mediocre voice, and often sings off-key when live (at least we know she's not using Auto-Tune!)  And I don't understand how anyone older than 18 would be interested in her adolescent-diary lyrics--so I was shocked on her special to see so many 20-somethings in the audience.

What I'm most disturbed by is all the industry awards she, and to a lesser extent Justin Bieber, are raking in.  I think back to my adolescence and teen phenoms like David Cassidy and Donny Osmond who sold lots of records but never were taken seriously enough to be nominated alongside real artists for Grammys or CMAs.  Doesn't the music industry realize how much it de-legitimizes itself by catering so to the 18-and-under crowd? 

Kelly McCartney's picture

Wouldn't you?

Wouldn't you?

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Tex's picture

Sissy Spacek playing

Loretta Lynn - Coal Miner's Daughter and Reese Witherspoon playing June Carter Cash - Walk the Line. These two ladies both did their own singing and won Oscars. Not too sure about Gwynth - guess we can agree that she has yangs for giving it a go. I do think she knew her limits and didn't try to portray a real human country singer. As far as the singing she has attempted in the past.....hmmmmmm.....

Of course, these days she is an A lister with every electronic recording gadget at her disposal. With top of the line recording equipment and Pro Tools they could make me sound good!

Twitter Time @kdhales

Kelly McCartney's picture

That's a lot to heap on the

That's a lot to heap on the shoulders of Pro Tools...

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Tex's picture

Hey now!

That's not what my momma says!  heheheheheeee

Twitter Time @kdhales

Conlite's picture

As far as I could tell from

As far as I could tell from that clip, she's playing all the necessary chords, but no embellishments and no fancy strumming for sure.  The song has a particularly simple (ie. boring) chord structure, so good choice if you are wobbly at guitar.

That said, I do think it takes less ability to switch from music to acting than vice versa.  A music career already requires stage performance and then there's all those music videos.  Acting does not usually require any musical ability on a regular basis.

Based on this clip, I think Paltrow should stick to acting.  Her voice and musical ability are both only passable, not great.  So unless she's planning on pulling out some Lady Gaga type flamboyance, what exactly is she going to sell?  Waste of stage space at this award show anyhow.

ShadowCat's picture

i don't know

if she is actually trying to be a country music "artist". I thought this was mainly just hype for her upcoming movie. At least she pretended to play with actual chords, even if she stayed on G for an entire minute. I did see C and D thrown in there a few times.

If you want to talk about real posers in the music industry...Have you ever seen ke$sha perform?

Kelly McCartney's picture


I try to avoid anyone who can't spell their own name properly.

You may be right about the career thing. I thought I'd read somewhere, though, that Paltrow was going to make a record. I could be wrong.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

ShadowCat's picture


that is true, then carry on. I'm sure the album will be terrible just like the movie is going to be.