Establishing a tone for Yellowstone is something showrunner Taylor Sheridan nails from the opening credits. In addition to the poignant dialogue from the main characters and gorgeous western scenery, one instrument that the creative team behind the Paramount Network series implements to draw in audiences is country music.
Yellowstone‘s soundtrack is full of country music from a wide range of artists. However, it isn’t the Top 40 Country you might hear on the radio. The music in the series has a particular edge to it that provides a raw grit that perfectly compliments the overarching feel of the show and the untamed wild of the Dutton’s Montana ranch.
One of the major forces behind bringing the gritty country sound to the show is Ryan Bingham, who plays Walker on the series.
Ryan Bingham on His Music in the Show
“Originally, when I was approached at the show, it was mainly about the music,” he said. “I had met Taylor, we’d hit it off and kind of became friends. Taylor found that I come from a ranching family in New Mexico and grew up riding horses and things like that.”
Bingham explains that Sheridan later reached out to him about a deeper involvement with the show than just the music.
“We got to talking and he was just like, ‘Man, I want you to come in and read for something.’ Read for a part, and a couple days later, Taylor called and he was like, ‘Man, I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to write you a part,'” he said.
“Basically, he said, we’ll just take it a little bit at a time,” he said. “You know, I’ll write you in as the show goes. He goes, ‘If you do good, then we’ll keep you in there.’ He goes, ‘If you suck, we’ll just kill you off.'”
Bingham on Being Vulnerable With His Songs
“Sometimes it can be so difficult because the songs are so personal to me,” he said. “So, to take that stuff and put it into a TV show and into the hands of this character puts me in a vulnerable state as well. Cause I have to have a certain amount of trust in the show, and in Taylor’s writing and all that, just to kind of put that stuff on the table.”
Some of Ryan Bingham’s songs featured in the show include “Sunrise,” “Bread and Water,” and “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So.”
Chris Stapleton’s ‘Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore’
The chorus of the song reads: “Daddy don’t pray anymore / I guess he’s finished talking to the lord / He used to fold his hands and bow his head down to the floor / But daddy don’t pray anymore.”
Check out the scene from John Dutton’s touching moment with his father below:
Kevin Costner Releases Country Album Based on ‘Yellowstone’
Earlier this year, Costner’s band released an album inspired by the show. The 65-year-old actor spoke out about several of the songs and how they directly connect to certain plot points in Yellowstone.
“‘Won’t Stop Loving You’ is about [John Dutton’s] inability to let go of his [late] wife,” he tells TV Insider. “‘Better Let Somebody Love You’ is his hope for man-eater Beth. That music all has to do with either characters or how I was feeling while I was there. My trailer is right on the property. To look at the same mountains that Lewis and Clark came down—that’s never lost on me. There’s times when it’s so hot, the pine needles are bouncing on the ground. When the wind blows, there’s that smell. It never leaves you.”
‘Yellowstone’ Music: A Family Affair
During an interview, Costner spoke out about the song and how special it is to hear his daughter sing it. “‘Heaven’s Gate’ started with a banjo melody,” he said. “It’s written by Teddy Morgan, Jack Williams, and Lilly Costner.”
He continues by saying: “It’s a special treat for me when my daughter sings. She does sing the lead vocals on ‘Heaven’s Gate.’ And it’s really a song about redemption when it’s maybe not even possible. While it has a light and airy feel, it’s really beautifully conceived in its simplicity. It’s a bit of a haunting song.”
The Official ‘Yellowstone’ Soundtrack & Playlist
The official soundtrack includes the likes of Tyler Childers, Honey County, Whiskey Myers, and more. Most notably, Childers’ “Lady May” accompanies a particularly touching scene between Rip Wheeler and Beth Dutton.
On Spotify, the ‘Yellowstone’ playlist has more than 40k followers. Some of the heavily played songs from the show include “Stone” by Whiskey Myers, “Mercy Now” by Mary Gauthier, and “Tumbleweed” by Puscifer.
Judging by the show’s massive popularity, the series has made an impact on viewers all over and the music clearly has a lot to do with it.