Kevin Costner will bring some Modern West to O.P. Rockwell
Performance is a thank you to local residents
The rumors are true.
Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor, director and producer Kevin Costner, who has been shooting the new Paramount TV series “Yellowstone” in and around Park City, has a country-rock band called Modern West.
The band will play Sunday, Sept. 24, at O.P. Rockwell, 268 Main St., Costner told The Park Record during an interview over the weekend.
“I want to thank people, because we have felt very welcome there in Park City, and around the other locations where we have filmed,” Costner said. “It’s part of my feeling that we’re supposed to act like guests when we do come to small intimate communities, and I wanted to play live in the name of ‘Yellowstone’ for the community. And if anyone from Salt Lake, Ogden or Provo wanted to make the drive, they could come and enjoy the night with us.”
Since its formation, Modern West has recorded a string of records and performed wherever and whenever they can.
“We put the band together 12 years ago with no intention of doing any thing but play live,” Costner said. “So when I would find myself as a guest in these communities, much like Park City and Salt Lake, where I’m there for three months or so, I feel there could be a chance to somehow spend an evening, or two or three, to play an evening of intimate, original music.”
To date, the band has played the Grand Ole Opry three times.
“We don’t really go out of our way to promote the records,” Costner said. “I have had my music turn up in scores of my movies and projects, but it’s been a very organic thing.”
One example is the music that is heard in Costner’s 2012 History Channel mini series “Hatfields and McCoys,” where Costner played the William Hatfield to Bill Paxton’s Randolph McCoy.
Modern West created an album called “Famous for Killing Each Other,” from the music they wrote while inspired by the historical feud.
“That whole album is a concept record that just came out of my feeling every day of making the series,” Costner said. “Half of the album is instrumental, and four of those tunes were picked up by the soundtrack composer and he put them into the series.”
Costner is currently writing songs inspired by “Yellowstone,” which is about the Duttons, a fictional ranching family who continually struggle to keep their land from getting in the hands of greedy encroachers.
“There is no machine behind what we’re doing, and only the director will decide if the music lines up enough to be in the production,” Costner said. “But the band will probably make an album about how we’re feeling everything about ‘Yellowstone.’”
Costner, who plays the family’s patron John Dutton, is writing songs based on members of the family.
“I’m writing songs about a character named Beth, who is my daughter, and I’m writing about the character of my son Casey, who is a very troubled young man,” he said. “I’m also writing about my own life in the history of being in this family. The song is like tough medicine because the songs are looking at the character and the violent life he has been a part of.”
Modern West recently recorded a new batch of songs, one of which is a new single called “Love Shine.”
“Some people heard them and shuffled them off to radio stations, and while I do like having people hear my music, I told them I wouldn’t be able to promote the songs,” Costner said.
“They said, that’s OK and did it anyway.
“The funny thing is (“Love Shine”) charted at 196 out of 200,” Costner said with a laugh. “And it’s now steadily moving up towards the Top 40.”
The song’s momentum caught the interest of country-music networks GAC and Heartland.
“They said they were interested coming to Park City to do some interviews about the song,” Costner said. “And I told them that would be fine, but if my band was in town, we were going to play live somewhere. That’s just typical for me. I just want to play live.”
Costner grew up in Oklahoma and was surrounded by music. His grandmother was the church’s choir director and both his mom and aunt sang in the choir.
He also played classical piano and participated in local musicals, but it was the songs on the radio that really stuck with him.
“For the most part the songs were short, there was a tightness to them, and that showed me the musicians were disciplined,” said Costner, who grew up in the late 1960s. “Now, you know, I tell long movies and prefer to tell long stories with my songs, but I saw the discipline of the music, and saw how varied the music was back then.
“The funny thing about music is that I could be influenced by everything from the Four Seasons to Motown to The Doors and Cream, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King and James Taylor,” he said. “There are things that are forever lodged in our memories. I like when we make music that has been inspired by a variety of things.”
Writing songs and performing with Modern West is one of Costner’s biggest loves.
“The reward is to be with your friends, sift through your ideas and allow the cream to rise to the top,” he said with another laugh. “Every time I write a song, I think it’s my best and then the band will tell me it’s not. And I’m fine with that because if a song isn’t ready, I don’t mind saying that. That keeps us fluid. And that’s good because we don’t want to get stuck.”
Costner is looking forward to the O.P. Rockwell show.
“Most people who put on a show usually have three or four months to get the word out, but we decided to do this in about seven days,” he said. “We hope people will come out, because the reality of it all is that if people show up, we will come back and play more times, with more advance notice. That’s my hope.”
Kevin Costner and Modern West will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24, at O.P. Rockwell, 268 Main St. Tickets are $48 and can be purchased by visiting their website.
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