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Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow, ‘Me and Tennessee’ – Lyrics Uncovered

Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw
Jason Merritt, Getty Images (2)

When news broke that Gwyneth Paltrow would be portraying a washed-up country singer trying to make a come back in ‘Country Strong,’ surely most people never imagined her husband and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin getting involved in the project. However, Chris Martin has proven that he can stray from his alternative rock roots and write for different genres. The British singer penned the song ‘Me and Tennessee’ for the film, which is sung by Paltrow and her co-star Tim McGraw.

Martin’s songwriting on ‘Me and Tennessee’ is a work of perfection, as the music and lyrics embody the conflicting attitudes that Kelly Canter (Paltrow) and her husband/manager James Canter (McGraw) have towards one another. The song speaks about the complications of love, as the two characters struggle to stay together through the various hardships that come their way — such as addiction, depression, and antagonism. The twang of the guitar and the melancholy tune also add to the song’s downtrodden quality.

While Martin’s talent for writing about love lays the foundation for a great song, Paltrow and McGraw’s vocals are what truly bring this track to another level. McGraw’s deep voice starts off the first verse, as he sings, “Baby I think we both know it’s gone wrong, wrong, wrong / And I know you don’t think we can carry on / Baby I think we both know it’s gone bad, bad, bad.” McGraw sings these lines with a pain in his voice, but with this pain comes an optimism that everything will work out. “Think of all the good times we had / Driving to your house / Member when we first met? / Dancing on a Friday night / Under the moon light,” McGraw continues.

McGraw’s traditional and deep voice gives way to Paltrow’s smoother singing. The star learned how to play the guitar and took singing lessons for the role as Kelly Canter, and this coaching definitely paid off. Paltrow proves she can sing country, especially when you hear the pitch change in her voice on the line, “In the back of your truck with the radio on.” The duet between her and McGraw is also really impressive, as their extremely different vocal ranges compliment each other beautifully.

Paltrow told People.com more about the song’s meaning. She said, “It’s about a couple who are maybe irreparably damaged. But the chorus goes, ‘Then that old song comes on / together we’re singing / Forever we’re singing / That old country song.’ So it’s about country music bringing people back together when they’re having a difficult time in life.” The song ‘Me and Tennessee’ will appear in the film ‘Country Strong’ and will also be available on the film’s exclusive soundtrack. ‘Country Strong’ hits theaters on Jan. 7, 2011.

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