Did You Know ‘Yellowstone’ Star Kevin Costner Recorded an Album Based on the Show?
Kevin Costner has scored a huge success with his dramatic portrayal of John Dutton on Yellowstone, but many fans of the show might not be aware of a fascinating side project he built around his character. Costner is also a singer-songwriter, and he and his band, Kevin Costner & Modern West, wrote and recorded an entire concept album based on the characters from the show.
Costner & Modern West released Tales From Yellowstone in June of 2020. The 16-song collection is mostly written from the perspective of Costner's character, John Dutton, the domineering patriarch of the Dutton family. The Duttons own the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the United States, and much of the hit show's drama derives from their conflict with those who border their land, as well as their difficult family dynamics.
Other songs on the record explore some of the themes of the show, but through a more personal lens.
“It’s really a concept record,” Costner tells American Songwriter. “Sometimes there are songs that aren’t really necessarily about John Dutton. I have my own muse when I’m away from home, or when I’m making a movie, and there are songs that kind of blend in and also complement what’s happening.”
Costner collaborates with the other band members and some outside writers on the songs. He invited his own daughter, Lily Costner, to sing on a track titled "Heaven's Gate" that actually appeared in an episode of Yellowstone. Lily Costner is a professional singer whose resume also includes working with Trace Adkins.
"It's a special treat for me when my daughter sings, and she does sing the lead vocals on 'Heaven's Gate,'" Costner says in a promotional clip for the song.
"It's really a song about redemption when it's maybe not even possible," he reflects. "While it has a light and airy feel, it's really beautifully conceived in its simplicity, it's a bit of a haunting song."
The project marks the second time Kevin Costner & Modern West have created a concept album around a dramatic project he was involved in. The group released Famous for Killing Each Other in 2012, inspired by his miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.
Costner and Modern West are taking the music on Tales From Yellowstone on the road in 2021. The actor, director and musician announced the dates for the Tales From Yellowstone 2021 Tour in a post to social media on July 7.