The soundtrack to the Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw country music drama Country Strong is a collection of mainstream contemporary country that has a mild pop bent but stays just this side of country-pop. Instead, it follows the blueprint of its star, McGraw, and the early work of his wife Faith Hill, delivering a collection of crisp, clean, and melodic country where the Hank Williams, Jr. cameo is used as rowdy flavoring. If Paltrow never quite sounds convincing as a country singer -- she seems just a little to mannered to be “Country Strong” -- Gossip Girl Leighton Meester pulls off the sweet “Words I Couldn’t Say” with ease, and the rest of the soundtrack is handed over to professionals like Hill, Lee Ann Womack, Patty Loveless, and Sara Evans, whose “A Little Bit Strong” provides a strong first single.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine