A few singers have dabbled in acting and pulled it off. Obvious ones include Cher, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Will Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, Beyonce, Whitney Houston and Madonna. But it’s more difficult for an actor to take a stab at singing and find success if it’s not for a part in a movie.

A few singers have dabbled in acting and pulled it off. Obvious ones include Cher, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Will Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, Beyonce, Whitney Houston and Madonna.

But it’s more difficult for an actor to take a stab at singing and find success if it’s not for a part in a movie. So last year’s Oscar winner Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”) or Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar-winning portrayal of June Carter Cash in “Walk The Line” don’t really count.

I’m thinking more of Keanu Reeves, Billy Bob Thorton and Russell Crowe. I thinks it’s cool they still give it a shot.

Some, however, have managed to do it well. Jennifer Lopez comes to mind. She was a dancer by trade (first as a Fly Girl on “In Living Color”), but movies made her a star. Her role as Selena brought her to the forefront, although she lip-synched the singing parts.

Lopez has since proven her recording career with numerous hit albums and charting songs.

Lopez was the first artist to debut a No. 1 album (“J.Lo”), single (“Love Don’t Cost A Thing”) and movie (“The Wedding Planner”) in the same week.

Another actress who could find similar success is Gwyneth Paltrow, although I’m not so sure she wants to. Paltrow has a phenomenal voice. And why wouldn’t she? I could listen to her speaking voice all day.

Paltrow falls into the category of “singer”?if a movie role calls for it. That’s the case with “Country Strong,” which follows the lives of a rising young singer-songwriter who gets involved with a fallen and perhaps emotionally unstable country star. The two  embark on a career-resurrecting tour. The surprising part comes when Paltrow sings.

“Country Strong” opens Friday, but the soundtrack is already available. I didn’t have to see the movie yet to know when something is good. Paltrow nails the title track like a seasoned pro.

I first caught Paltrow performing the new song when she closed the CMA telecast. I thought she had the best performance of the night.

The soundtrack features four Paltrow offerings, including the title track, “Coming Home,” “Shake That Thing” and a duet of “Me And Tennessee” with Tim McGraw.

“Country Strong” is not the first time Paltrow has sung in a movie. She starred with Huey Lewis in “Duets.” In that role, Paltrow tackled some classics, including “Just My Imagination” and a cover of Smoky Robinson’s “Cruisin’” with Lewis. It topped Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.

I assumed she would seek a singing career after that success, but it never went anywhere.

Paltrow also guest-appeared on “Glee” recently, and she again showcased her singing. This time she took on Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You.” Once again, I thought she was incredible. I’ve since heard that Cee-Lo has offered to work with Paltrow in the future. We’ll see if that comes to fruition.
   
David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at farrboy@hotmail.com.