The actress shows off her vocal chops on her new single

By Whitney Pastorek
August 06, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

How did Gwyneth Paltrow prepare for the indie film Country Strong (out Dec. 22), in which she plays a Nashville superstar trying to reclaim her career after rehab? With a little help from her friends, including husband Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Reese Witherspoon (who crossed over to country herself in Walk the Line), and real-life Nashville star Faith Hill. Now the Paltrow-crooned title track from the film is getting radio play, and even though it’s not her first time at this rodeo (her rendition of ”Cruisin”’ with Huey Lewis from Duets made the airwaves too), the 37-year-old seems surprised. ”What the hell?” Paltrow laughs. ”I was just singing songs for the movie. I think the original plan was they wanted the bona fide crew to re-sing our songs, but when [then Sony Music Nashville chair] Joe Galante heard it, he was like, ‘No, I want to release this as the single.’ I was like, ‘Excuse me, please?”’ The song’s pedigree also gets a boost thanks to guest vocals from Vince Gill and Patty Griffin. ”They were added in later,” Paltrow says. ”I did my vocal, and then Byron Gallimore, the producer, was like, ‘You know, I just think Vince would sing so well on this.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way.’ And he f—ing got Vince Gill to sing on the track! It’s crazy. I’m so humbled.”