If you're itching for a new Chris Stapleton song, look no further than the closing credits for Disney and Pixar's upcoming summer blockbuster Toy Story 4.
Fans won't have to wait until the film's June 20 release to hear Stapleton's Wild West take on "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy," a new song penned by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Toy Story soundtrack regular Randy Newman ("You've Got a Friend in Me," "We Belong Together"). A lyric video and soundtrack teaser unveil the brief tale about friendship, told from the standpoint of beloved series co-star Sheriff Woody Pride, voiced by Tom Hanks. As a good Disney soundtrack cut should, it suits the moral of the Toy Story while standing on its own as a fun family sing-along.
As a promotional tool, the video gives fans brief glimpses of some new characters, including Keanu Reeves' Duke Kaboom, an Evel Knievel homage with an inferiority complex. Plus, it telegraphs a happy ending, as such an upbeat song wouldn't fit if Woody didn't solve the existential crisis teased in trailers.
For Stapleton, it connects an old soul with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and other singing cowboys responsible for introducing country and Western storytelling to a mainstream audience. Considering the Toy Story series' sustained popularity over nearly 25 years, Stapleton's involvement should expose his music to even the sternest consumers of "everything but country and rap."
The song's timing barely precedes two perks of the summer: the arrivals of family-friendly movies and amphitheater-heavy tour schedules. Stapleton's All American Road Show Tour hits full-stride in July, with select dates featuring Brent Cobb, The Marcus King Band and fellow new parent Margo Price.