Kevin Costner performs with his band Modern West on stage at Ryman Auditorium on October 26, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Kevin Costner Reflects on His Upbringing, Shares Song Inspired By 'Yellowstone' at Tennessee Festival

Screen legend and musician Kevin Costner headlined the inaugural Homestead Festival in Columbia, Tenn. on Saturday, June 4 with his band, Kevin Costner & Modern West. During his set, Costner reflected on his upbringing in Compton, Calif. and his relationship with his father, who he's said is a lot like John Dutton.

Long before he became a celebrated actor and director, Costner said he was unsure of his path in life.

"I always envied people who had an idea of what they were going to do," Costner told the audience. "I was envious of people who understood what their yellow brick road was. I didn't. I grew up working — I worked fishing boats and drove trucks...My dad was a bluecollar guy from Oklahoma, a fistfighter, and I know he was waiting to see if I could get off the dole. I remember when I finally knew what I wanted to do, I went to my father. I told him 'I know what I want to do...I'm going to be an actor.' His head just hit the table. He didn't want me to be embarrased and he also didn't know how to help me."

Of course, Costner's acting career proved to be a massive success. He went on to star in classics such as The Untouchables, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams. Then Costner, ever the dreamer, decided to try something new. He wanted to direct. His father, though supportive, was once again worried about his son.

"I remember when I went to [my dad] again. I said 'Hey I have another idea...I'm gonna direct.' I think his head hit the table harder," Costner said. "And he looked at me and he said 'Kevin, this acting thing was going really good, fella. I don't know if you should mess it up trying to direct.'"

Costner's dad didn't need to worry. His son's feature directorial debut Dances With Wolves was a box office smash and earned Costner an Oscar for Best Picture.

"The people who love you the most can also hold you back and it's out of love. It's out of fear," Costner said. "So I remember when I was finally going to come back to music...the one person I didn't tell was [my dad]. I just figured that he would catch up and he wouldn't have to be worried. He'd find me already 90 miles down the road."

Costner, who was trained classically on piano, released the country-rock album Untold Truths in 2008 with his band Modern West. Since then, the band released Turn It On in 2012 and has continued to tour around the globe. In 2020, the band released Tales From Yellowstone, a collection of songs mostly written from the perspective of his Yellowstone character John Dutton.

During his performance at the Homestead Festival, Costner introduced the aching country ballad "Won't Stop Loving You," explaining that it was written from the perspective of John Dutton after the loss of Dutton's wife, Evelyn.

Season 5 of Yellowstone will debut this November on the Paramount Network.

READ MORE: Kevin Costner's Lookalike Daughter Lily Costner Is a Talented Singer