‘Yellowstone’: From Whiskey Myers to Willie Nelson, Here’s How the Series Chooses Its Music

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo Courtesy Paramount Press Center)

The music chosen for “Yellowstone” always ties into the show well and creates a cowboy vibe like no other. So, who decides what music makes it in?

That honor goes to Andrea von Foerster, per PopCulture. Von Foerster is the music supervisor for the show. She scouts different musicians and decides which songs to include in specific “Yellowstone” episodes. Most of the time, she teams up with Taylor Sheridan himself to decide what song fits the mood of a scene.

“Taylor and Andrea do an amazing job ensuring every note of music placed in the show serves a purpose,” Sabrina Del Priore, VP of Creative Music Strategy at ViacomCBS, told Music Row. “Their dedication to authenticity provides a tremendous opportunity for artist discovery, which is always important to us at the network.”

Von Foerster has an impressive history as a music supervisor. She’s worked on big films like “(500) Days of Summer,” “Fantastic Four,” “Begin Again,” and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” before. In terms of TV, you might recognize von Foerster’s work on shows like “Daybreak,” “Dollhouse,” “Don’t Trust The B In Apt. 23,” “Modern Family,” and “Queen Of The South.”

For “Yellowstone,” von Foerster looks for a very specific brand of music that fits the tone of the show. “We tend to use red dirt country a lot, so artists from Texas and Oklahoma, as well as Americana, and country rock,” von Foerster told Music Row.

The music supervisor also gave a few examples of artists she featured on “Yellowstone” who blew up afterward. Like Whiskey Myers and Zach Bryan, whose albums and songs shot to the top of the charts after their music appeared on “Yellowstone.”

How Andrea von Foerster Picks the Music and Artists Who Appear on ‘Yellowstone’

“Obviously I have artists pitched to me from labels, publishers, managers, and agents,” von Foerster said. “But I also go down massive Twitter and YouTube rabbit holes, that’s how I find artists that aren’t as well-known.”

That’s literally how she found Zach Bryan. Von Foerster told Music Row how she messaged him on Twitter. She simply asked him if they could use his song “Condemned” on an episode.

“His record was very lo-fi—I think it was recorded in an Airbnb so it didn’t quite sound how we needed it to for the show,” von Foerster explained. “I asked Zach if I could pair him with a colleague of mine, Dave Cobb. His management got him to Nashville, he recorded with Dave Cobb, and we used ‘Condemned’ at the end of one of our episodes.”

The exposure on “Yellowstone” kicked Zach Bryan up to the next level with his music. Von Foerster said she looks forward to giving more underground artists the opportunity to shine in “Yellowstone” Season 5.

“We have such a solid fan base that really loves the music. I always want to keep introducing everyone to new artists or local artists that they know and love,” von Foerster said. “We certainly don’t overlook major label artists. We love Chris Stapleton like no other. But it’s nice to give a leg up to the up-and-coming folks.”