‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Wrote ‘Wind River’ Listening to Ryan Bingham Hit

by Lauren Boisvert

Ryan Bingham is a big hit on “Yellowstone” as Walker. His music is even more of a hit, and Taylor Sheridan features it often. Bingham played his saddest song, “Hallelujah,” in the penultimate episode of “Yellowstone,” where Beth broke down crying as he played. It was a haunting scene, and both actors were incredible.

That song featured previously in the Sheridan-verse, but not in anything “Yellowstone” related. Actually, Sheridan was listening to “Hallelujah” when he wrote “Wind River.” You could say that “Yellowstone” and “Wind River” are linked, then, because the film introduced Sheridan to Ryan Bingham.

“I wrote [the movie] ‘Wind River’ listening to his song ‘Hallelujah’ on a loop,” Sheridan told the Los Angeles Times. “To have him on ‘Yellowstone’ is a gift. He is the graveled voice of this generation’s cowboys and poets.”

“Hallelujah” broke our hearts and hit us all right where it hurts. On “Yellowstone,” it was an opportunity for Beth to be vulnerable in ways that she never is. She told Walker she can “only cry to sad songs,” and that’s the saddest song I think I’ve ever heard. It would be interesting to compare how that song fits together in the context of “Yellowstone,” and also in the context of “Wind River.” Can you tell that movie was written to that song?

Additionally, I don’t think it would be too far off to call Ryan Bingham Taylor Sheridan’s muse; his inspiration, at least. Bingham’s music is just so raw and emotional, and leaves little room for argument. It holds your eyes open and shows you what it’s about, and it hurts, but it’s worth it. Nothing hits like “Hallelujah,” honestly.

‘Yellowstone’ Star and Musician Ryan Bingham Talks Channeling Trauma into Music

Ryan Bingham hasn’t just gone through fictional trauma as Walker on “Yellowstone.” He’s been through some incredibly tough times in his life. Around 2009, he lost both of his parents, his mother to alcoholism, and his father to suicide. Recently, he split with his wife of 12 years. He told the Los Angeles Times that, when he was growing up, “Only crazy people went to therapy.” He could have gone down a dark path, but he turned to music instead.

“I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to write lighter songs,” he said. “But when I’m having those hard times, it’s almost like I can’t keep it from coming out. I’ll just pick up the guitar and it just pours out. Then I record it, and there ain’t really no looking back. A lot of it, I try to leave on the page, but then I got to go sing it over and over. People want to hear the songs, and I got to relive some of that trauma too.”