Kevin Costner is easily one of the most respected stars in Hollywood. He's an incredibly talented filmmaker who won multiple Oscars for his western film Dances With Wolves and is known for being a familiar face in western films and TV shows. He's made a name for himself with an acting resume ranging from The Bodyguard to some of the best films about baseball ever made, but he's also a talented singer-songwriter. If you thought his acting was good, just wait until you hear Costner's vocals.
Years into his high-profile acting career, Costner decided to found his own country music band, Kevin Costner & Modern West. Comprised of Costner, John Coinman, Teddy Morgan, Blair Forward, Larry Cobb, Park Chisolm, Luke Bulla, Bobby Yang, and Roddy Chong, the band has toured the world together and released five studio albums. From original music that's just plain fun to country albums inspired by two of Costner's most notable TV roles, the Oscar winner has released some quality music that just proves he's capable of pretty much anything.
Here are 10 of the best songs so far from Kevin Costner & Modern West.
10. "Dark Thoughts Ride"
Costner and the band's latest album Tales from Yellowstone was written from the perspective of his character from the popular Paramount Network series, John Dutton. The Dutton family patriarch is fully focused on protecting his family and their Montana ranch empire, whatever the cost, so it's safe to say he has a lot of weight on his shoulders at all times. This song just sounds like the perfect backdrop to John Dutton taking an early morning ride across his vast property.
From the album Untold Truths, this song barely sounds like Kevin Costner. It's just some down-home fun, full of twang from both Costner and the banjo.
8. "How Deep the Water Runs"
Tales of Yellowstone was actually the second concept album the band has released together. The first time, it was Famous for Killing Each Other, inspired by the miniseries Costner starred in, Hatfields & McCoys. Costner's gravely voice is perfectly showcased in this bluegrass tune.
7. "Turn It On"
The title song from the 2010 album Turn It On is another example of Costner's talented vocals. It's a breezy love song accompanied by some strong drum work that makes it feel at times a bit more country-rock.
6. "Famous for Killing Each Other"
The titular song from the Hatfields & McCoys album perfectly sums up the real story of the famous families. Costner brought to life Devil Anse Hatfield who famously survived the legendary feud and finally brought it to an end. While the band also recorded the theme song for the miniseries, I think this song, with its simple strumming banjo, illustrates the story and transports you back in time effortlessly.
5. "90 Miles an Hour"
From Untold Truths, this is just a good country song that happens to be sung by Kevin Costner. It really sounds like a hit song you'd jam out to driving in the car and would be a welcome addition to your next road trip playlist.
I'm 90 miles an hour down the highway, baby
I can't turn around
Ain't nothing left behind me
But the ghosts I'm leaving in the cold, cold ground
4. "Won't Stop Loving You"
Another strong song off Tales from Yellowstone, this was inspired by John Dutton losing his beloved wife Evelyn. Evelyn was the love of John's life and a loss that he never truly gets over. It affects every member of the Dutton family even years later and is central to the pain they feel in the series.
"It begins to sum up how he feels," Costner told American Songwriter. "This man is about the land. And when you share the land with your partner, every place you ever go, you see her on it. He's a man going forward, but you never forget that moment; it's immovable. I didn't have to look any further than my own life to find what was the strength of it for me."
3. "Superman 14"
Probably the best song from Untold Truths is "Superman 14." Costner sings about feeling like Superman flying out of his hometown he loves.
I feel like Superman, flying over muddy rivers
Counting everything from one to 14
Over roads where the sunflowers grow
I can see from here to eternity
2. "Heaven's Gate" Feat Lily Costner
Costner and his daughter Lily have collaborated a handful of times over the years and he brought her on again for this lovely song from Tales of Yellowstone. Lily has a haunting voice that really lends itself to this simple ballad.
1. "The Land I Call Home"
If there's one song that really sums up the heart of the TV series Yellowstone, it's this song. The Yellowstone Ranch is John Dutton's home and that's why he works so hard to defend it. As Costner explained in his American Songwriter interview, he loves telling western stories which i think is perfectly reflected in this song.
"I like to look at the moments that define us as people. How hard it was to make a living out of something that wasn't there, the displacement of the people who were there before you, and then the fight that resulted from it. It's the fingerprints on our expansion. They're understandable, they're ugly, they're heroic, they're shameful."
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