From Acting to Singing: Inside Kevin Costner’s 15-Year Music Career With His Band Modern West
Kevin Costner found fame as a Hollywood heartthrob in 1985 with his breakout role in Silverado. From there, he earned critical acclaim with films like Dances with Wolves, JFK and The Bodyguard. Acting is only just one part of Kevin’s successful career in show business. The father of seven has been playing with his country-rock band, Modern West, since 2007.
Born in 1955, Kevin grew up playing classical music on the piano just like his grandmother. He listened to a vast range of music from the Four Seasons and the Doors to Carole King. Before he became an Academy Award winner in 1991, Kevin decided to start a band a few years earlier. He named the band Roving Boy, a venture that was short-lived. It was his wife, Christine Baumgartner, that encouraged him to get back into music a decade later.
“I kind of hemmed and hawed about all of it and kind of avoided it,” he told The Roanoke Times in April 2014. “For two years she kept after me to do it because she saw how much I enjoyed doing it. And finally, I said that I would.”
Kevin reached out to his friends John Coinman and Blair Forward to give their band another shot. In 2007, the band went on a tour across the globe. The tour led up to the release of their first album, Untold Truths, in 2008. The album landed at No. 61 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums. A second album and European tour followed, and Kevin loved hitting the road with some of his best buds.
“The thing about music is I can be with my friends and we can make music and there’s some kind of bond that comes with just being in the room together,” Kevin shared with the Grammy’s Recording Academy in 2014. “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.”
The group’s third album, Famous for Killing Each Other: Music from and Inspired By Hatfields & McCoys, was used as the soundtrack for Kevin’s Emmy Award-winning miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys. His daughter, Lily Costner, also contributed vocals to the album.
In June 2020, Modern West released their Tales From Yellowstone album. The 16-song album features music that embodies the perspective of John Dutton, Kevin’s character in his hit series, Yellowstone. “This project was really special to me and the band,” Kevin shared on Twitter in June 2021.
To help promote season 4 of Yellowstone, Modern West played a series of concerts across the U.S. The group even attracted some celebrity fans over the years. During a tour stop in Indiana in November 2021, country superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood joined the audience. Kevin posed for a photo with the iconic couple backstage, warming the hearts of country music fans everywhere.