We love a good country music performance, whether it’s in a tiny dive bar, a giant arena, or performed by some of our favorite actors in TV and movies — some of whom even won an Oscar for their portrayal of legendary country superstars. Read on for some of our favorites of all time, from classic films to buzzy TV shows.
Monarch – “Half Of My Hometown”
Trace Adkins stars in Monarch as the Roman family patriarch, Albie Roman. He and his wife, Dottie, played by Susan Sarandon, head their multigenerational country music dynasty. But when the family legacy threatens to falter following news of Dottie’s unstable health, the Roman’s eldest daughter, Nicky, takes it upon herself to continue their rule of the country music scene.
In this teaser, Albie Roman and up-and-coming artist Ana Phoenix (Emma Milani) duet to Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney’s “Half Of My Hometown” as Ana’s mother, Catt, looks on proudly.
Country Strong (2010) – “Country Strong”
Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Kelly Canter, summons all of her strength (after battling alcoholism and personal demons throughout the film) for her powerful rendition of the movie’s titular track, “Country Strong.”
Walk the Line (2005) – “It Ain’t Me, Babe”
Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix performed all of their own singing in 2005’s Walk the Line, and this musical moment shines a spotlight on their characters’ rich connection through song. Witherspoon won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter, the real-life muse for Johnny Cash (played by Phoenix) — and their chemistry is never clearer than when they duet on “It Ain’t Me, Babe.”
I Saw The Light (2015) – “Move It On Over”
Tom Hiddleston does a stellar Hank Williams impersonation in the 2015 film I Saw The Light. But the actor’s twang and jovial cadence is especially spot-on in this clip of him singing “Move It On Over” in a recording studio.
Nashville (1975) – “It’s Easy”
“It’s Easy” stands out as one of the most subtly evocative scenes in the 1975 film. Every woman on the set swoons as Keith Carradine’s character, Tom, strums this slow tune on his guitar. But his target listener, Linnea (played by Lily Tomlin) can only stare as she’s serenaded from across the room.
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) – “There He Goes”
When Loretta Lynn receives an acoustic guitar as an anniversary present, she has no idea she will soon be playing herself into stardom. But with practice and persistence, she eventually makes it to a honky-tonk bar stage to perform “There He Goes.”
Sissy Spacek’s earnest portrayal of Lynn won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
A Star Is Born (2018) – “Maybe It’s Time”
As Bradley Cooper‘s character, Jackson Maine, croons the lyrics to “Maybe It’s Time” on stage in A Star Is Born, the movie flashes through concert scenes from his tour. The moody song soundtracks a montage of romantic sparks flying between the country star and his new bandmate, Ally (Lady Gaga).
Nashville (TV Series) – “Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again”
In the season 1 finale of Nashville, Hayden Panettiere’s character, Juliette, performs “Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again” at the Bluebird Cafe. Before beginning the emotional ballad, she takes to the mic to pay tribute to her late mother.
“Her biggest dream was to see me sing at the Bluebird,” Juliette says, as fellow country artists Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) look on from the audience. “So I hope you’re here tonight Mama, and this one’s for you.”
Nashville (TV Series) – “This Time”
Connie Britton and Charles Esten delivered an unforgettable acoustic moment as country duo Rayna and Deacon in this episode of Nashville. The characters’ chemistry is palpable as they share harmonies and meaningful glances throughout “This Time.”
Crazy Heart (Movie) – “Flyin’ and Fallin’
Jeff Bridges’ washed-up, alcoholic former country star Otis “Bad” Blake faces a career resurgence after falling in love with a reporter, who encourages him to get his life back on track and reunite with his former mentee, Colin Farrell’s Tommy Sweet, as his opening act. The movie’s theme, “The Weary Kind,” is perhaps the best known, but it’s fun to watch Bridges and Farrell in country musician mode together.
O Brother, Where Are Thou? (Movie) – “Man of Constant Sorrow”
A trio of escapees from a prison chain gang (led by George Clooney) set out in search of treasure (among other things) and meet with misadventures along the way. In this scene, they record a song as the Soggy Bottom Boys to earn some money for their journey; it becomes a massive radio hit and factors prominently into their fortunes later on. The recording of the song (actually performed by Dan Tyminski, with Harley Allen and Pat Enright) ended up being a radio hit in 2001 as well, even reaching 35 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
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