The Music of ‘Yellowstone’ — How Country Songs Have Built Memorable Scenes + the TV Show’s Built Careers
For a new artist, getting your song on the TV show Yellowstone can be a career-making accomplishment. The Paramount Network drama's soundtrack is smart and dynamic and reliant on outlaw country music. Pop artists need not apply.
"We're not interested," music supervisor Andrea von Foerster told Rolling Stone in 2019, referring to pop music's place on the show. "Our country is more red dirt and Americana. Good ol’ whiskey-drinking or outlaw country ... we seek artists who are under-represented. We go for the best fit. All of this breaks our musical constraints wide open."
Whiskey Myers best exemplifies the show's influence. In 2018, they made a cameo and had songs featured in four episodes, leading to a tremendous boost in sales and streams. Three older albums reached the Top 10 on iTunes, they tell the magazine. A music video for a song called "Stone" summarizes their involvement.
Singer Cody Cannon's Drive-By Truckers T-shirt in the above video segues into talking about Jason Isbell's songs used on Yellowstone. Saving Country Music counts two across Season 2, including "Alabama Pines." You don't have to jump very far from Isbell to get to Sturgill Simpson, a Season 3 favorite of creator Taylor Sheridan's. We found this memorable scene where "Turtles All the Way Down" gets played in Rip's truck.
Honey County knew they had a song called "Under Your Influence" coming late in Season 2, so — per Rolling Stone — they timed the release of the song around the series. The trio came back for Episode 1 of Season 3, along with Cody Jinks, Colter Wall and more. Songs from stars Kevin Costner and Ryan Bingham are placed throughout each season as well, but the choices are never gratuitous.
Not every artist lives on the fringe, however. Here is Part 1 of an incomplete list of mainstream country stars with songs on Yellowstone, plus the songs: Jon Pardi, "Me and Jack"; Lainey Wilson, "Straight Up Sideways"; Elle King, "Ain't Gonna Drown"; Brothers Osborne, "Dead Man's Curve"; Chris Stapleton, "Whiskey and You" and — most recently — "Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore," used in the season finale of Season 3:
Multiple songs from several of these artists have been featured, plus more from Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Midland, Maren Morris and Blackberry Smoke. The scene with Kacey Musgraves' "Slow Burn" in it does not appear to be available on YouTube, but we found this compilation of Rip and Beth moments that speaks to how her song was used.
"I had ('Slow Burn') in my back pocket, waiting for the right moment," von Foerster says. "I prefer music by tough, spitfire women who have substance and grit."
Country has a few of those:
Finally, back to Wilson, who has had three of her songs on the series. The first was an independent song ("Workin' Overtime") during Season 2, Ep. 1. A bull goes on a rampage etc., ... but the opportunity led to a friendship with Sheridan (per iHeart Country) and a chance for two more songs. Those ended up being from her debut album Sayin' What I'm Thinkin', a Taste of Country favorite.
Last August, Wilson — whose single "Things a Man Oughta Know" is inside the country airplay Top 5 — even got to go to the ranch and play a private show for the cast and crew. You bet she took a few pictures: