Kevin Costner is a Renaissance man in the truest sense. He’s an award-winning actor, director and producer; he has written music for film and television; and he is the frontman of his own band, Kevin Costner & Modern West. In an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com, Costner discussed his latest project with Modern West, Famous For Killing Each Other: Music From And Inspired By Hatfields & McCoys, creative influences and musical mentors, among other topics.
“The fair got rained out on the night we were supposed to perform so we played a few songs for an impromptu gathering of people in the catering tent while the rain kept pouring down. We were dying to play. It was loads of fun even though we were disappointed about not being able to play for a big fair crowd. I guess you might say we all made the best of it…….and we’re happy the rains came to Texas. We’ll be back next year.” – John Coinman
Thanks to all the new and old fans in Ft. Wayne who endured the late afternoon heat and stuck around for our show at the fairgrounds. We had a great time and thanks also to Jimmy the groundskeeper who let us wander through the abandoned county land next to the fairgrounds. We all hope your drought breaks soon and the rains come down.
We played a short Hatfield/McCoy set at the Opry the night after Ft. Wayne. Both Lillie Costner and Sara Beck joined us on stage. Lillie sang her song “O Mallie May” and Sara sang “I know these Hills”. We also played “Famous For Killing Each Other” for the first time in public. The five song set was soulful and dark – very different from the sets by The Oak Ridge Boys and Charlie Daniels. The sold out house seemed to really like what we did. Most people have never heard our songs and are listening to them for the first time.
We drove all night after the Opry to Jackson Mississippi to play Hals and Mals in the downtown area. They served us some wonderful meals both for lunch and for dinner – fried catfish, gumbo, shrimp salad, red beans and rice – mad us feel right at home – Thanks to Jane for taking such good care of us. The sold out house that night was as wild a crowd as we’ve ever played to. The night was hot and humid right after a thunderstorm rolled through an hour before we played – we were all drenched in sweat by the time our set was over. Thank you Mississippi. We’ll be back in November.
Running a little behind with updates……..great show in Lansing Michigan at the Common Ground Music Festival – big crowd – boats on the river behind the festival grounds…party time.
We left that night and drove into one of our favorite states – Iowa – where we played at the ValAire in Des Moines and then onto Clear Lake to play one of our favorite clubs – the Surf Club. Some people aren’t familiar with the history of the club so I’ll briefly tell you that the Surf Club is the last place Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens played. Their plane crashed that night in a snowstorm after the show…February 3, 1959….the guy who gave up his seat?….Waylon Jennings. Also one of the little towns near Clear Lake is Leland. We wrote a song about Leland and played it once again to a wonderful exhuberant audience. Thanks to everyone who came and thanks to everyone who has kept the Surf Club alive all these years and made it into a premiere venue in the Midwest…..The Snyder family, Wayne, Jeff and many others….sorry I can’t remember everyones’ name.
We’re sitting in the bus now at the fairgrounds in Ft. Wayne Indiana having just pulled in from our show last night in St. Charles at the charming historic Arcada theater….rescued in the nick of time from the wrecking ball and well tended by Ron, Rich and Sherry (who took great care of the band and even made chocolate cupcakes for us).
We were going to play the Neon Armadillo here in Ft. Wayne but the club was too small for the demand so we’re doing a semi-outdoor concert here at the fairgrounds – kind of reminds me of my hometown fairgrounds back in Clayton New Mexico where they have the rodeos, the county fair, 4th of July, little league baseball games, and carnivals that leave in the dead of the night.
The Guthrie Theater ranks right up there with the best of them all – beautifully designed, intimate yet expansive, high ceilings, great lighting, and great crew…..and it’s red all over inside….and it sits on the banks of The Mississippi among the old mills and factories…. and it’s got an amazing candeleavered ramp which runs out over the river where you can sit and watch it flow. The theater is just part of the incredible innovative urban revitalization taking place downtown.
We played a 90 minute set ending with an encore of “Angels” and “Superman 14”.
In the middle of our set we are now playing a “mini-set” of Hatfield and McCoy songs – featuring some of the material we wrote for the series documentary…..and a special guest, Lillie Costner, who joins us for the first half of our tour. Lillie is a great singer/songwriter with a unique blend of the old and the new, the sweet and the sad, all with a voice that can transport you to another place and time. Lillie will be with us when we play the Opry in Nashville and Sara Beck will join us there and finish off the tour. We’re lucky to have such talented and beautiful women to brighten up the stage.
Thank you everyone who came to the beautiful Guthrie Theater in Downtown Minneapolis (Teddy’s hometown) to see us on a Monday Night. You really made us feel welcome.
Right now we’re on the road to Lansing Michigan to play The Common Ground Music Festival on the 12th…….come see us there.
Sun Peaks B.C. is a long way from Minneapolis. We left Saturday night after the show and we’re still driving – just crossed the border in North Dakota at 7AM Monday. We’ll get into Minneapolis for our show there tonight at the Guthrie Theater just about load-in time – 1 or 2 PM. There are 9 of us on the bus plus 2 drivers. It ‘s a long drive and a long story. You might ask, “Why are these guys starting their US tour in Canada and why are they driving their bus all the way across the Canadian Rockies and the Great Plains. Are they crazy?” The answer is yes – but a complicated yes – not as crazy as it seems……and we do like the bus better than the airports.
Our USA tour through the midwest begins today July 9.
Sun Peaks has a summer music festival which we headlined this year. We played a 90 minute set against a beautiful backdrop of green mountains as the sun went down. The audience was wonderful and Kevin as usual made everyone feel like “part of the family”. A Brown bear sat on the edge of the forest listening to the music.