“Yellowstone” star Ryan Bingham took a break from playing ranch hand Walker on the show to play some music live before a packed crowd this weekend. At the Under the Big Sky Music and Arts Festival in Whitefish, Montana, Bingham joined performers like Jason Isbell, Brothers Osborne and Dwight Yoakam in celebrating the first summer of live music since the pandemic hit.
Bingham performed on Friday. And on Sunday, he updated his Instagram page with a picture from the festival.
“Big times under the Big Sky! Epic crowd. Thanks Montana!” Bingham posted.
Music Rescued Bingham
A musician as well as an actor, the “Yellowstone” star endured some rough years in Texas before he found his calling in music. He worked for a rodeo company and couch-hopped for a while in his late teens to early twenties. Then he started playing honkey-tonks and dive bars.
“I truly believe that [music rescued me],” Bingham told Texas Monthly in 2012. “I started playing songs and from the get-go, it was really therapeutic. It’s always helped to say stuff out loud. The songs weren’t really written for anybody to hear. A lot of the places I played early on were rough roadhouses, honkey-tonks and dive bars. People were there to get drunk and fight. I could sing the songs all night long and nobody was listening to the lyrics as long as the guitars were loud and the tempos were up. But it gave me the opportunity to sustain myself.”
As a songwriter, Bingham said he tries to convey some of the harsh realities he sees on the road as a touring musician. His approach is to get at the emotions that those places and characters evoke rather than to paint a specific scene.
“I think what’s going on around me influences me like anybody else,” he said.
‘Yellowstone’ Star Got Into Acting After Winning an Oscar
Bingham won an Oscar in 2010 for his song “The Weary Kind,” which was the theme song from the movie “Crazy Heart.” The star of that movie, Jeff Bridges, persuaded Bingham that he should get into acting.
“He said he’d help me out,” Bingham told Rolling Stone in 2010. “He was like, ‘Come on, man, it will be fun!’”
And by all appearances, the singer-songwriter and actor has been having fun on “Yellowstone.” Moreover, series co-creator Taylor Sheridan must like Bingham as Walker, because he brought the character back after a brief hiatus and had him branded, a sign of being permanently tethered to the Dutton ranch.
As Bingham himself once observed, Walker’s not so easy to get rid of. But what the musical ranch hand will get up to in Season 4 is anyone’s guess.