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Yellowstone star Kevin Costner is a man of many talents. In addition to playing fifth-generation rancher John Dutton on TV’s most-watched drama, the two-time Oscar winner is a writer, director, and producer. The 67-year-old is also a musician who regularly shows up on the Yellowstone soundtrack with his band Kevin Costner & Modern West. And they released an entire album of songs written from John Dutton’s perspective!

Kevin Costner attends the premiere party for Paramount Network's "Yellowstone" Season 2 at Lombardi House on May 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Kevin Costner | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The ‘Yellowstone’ star formed a band years ago

Growing up, music was a big part of Costner’s life as he sang in the church choir and played piano and guitar. When he got to Hollywood in the 1980s, he met John Coinman at an acting workshop in Los Angeles and they immediately became friends. Not long after meeting, they formed a band named Roving Boy with third friend Blair Forward. 

“That was really when none of us had any money,” Costner said, per Outsider. “The workshop was free.”

Unfortunately, the band didn’t find much success because of a bad review. But at the time, Costner really couldn’t do music seriously because his movie career was blowing up. Fast forward to 2005, and Costner’s wife, Christine Baumgartner, encouraged him to get back into music. So, he reached out to Coinman and Forward to see if they would be interested in getting the band back together. 

“I just wanted to see if music made me happy again. I know that sounds a little trivial,” he said. “But I didn’t want to let music pass me by a second time. I just wanted to play. And I wanted to make original music with my friends.”

Kevin Costner and Modern West released an entire album of songs from John Dutton’s perspective

When the band reunited, they changed their name to Modern West, added more musicians, and became a six-piece country rock band. Over the years they’ve recorded albums like Turn It On and From Where I Stand.

Once Costner became John Dutton on Yellowstone, Modern West started contributing to the soundtrack. What’s more, they recorded an entire album of songs written from the character’s perspective titled Tales From Yellowstone that was released in the summer of 2020.


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“It’s really a concept record,” Costner told 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, for when I’m making a movie, and there are songs that kind of blend in and also complement what’s happening.”

‘Tales From Yellowstone’ is a special record for Kevin Costner

On the first anniversary of the album’s release, Costner told his nearly 1 million Instagram followers that he couldn’t believe the record had been out an entire year.

“This project was really special to me and the band—a chance to get into the mind of John Dutton, my character on @yellowstone, and express his emotions musically,” Costner wrote in the caption.

Costner says that he continues making music with Modern West because he can spend time with his friends. He explained that there is “some kind of bond that comes with just being in the room together.”

“I get a lot just from the camaraderie. Sometimes when the guitars are set down, the discussions that come out of it are very satisfying,” Costner said.

Yellowstone airs Sunday nights on the Paramount Network.