The actor/producer/ singer will bring his band, Modern West, not to Reno’s silver screen, but to the stage of the Silver Legacy’s Grande Exposition Hall on Friday as he puts aside his acting career for a bit and shares his other passion.
“I always thought that music could build a stronger, more personal moment for me,” Costner writes on his band’s Web site, www.kevincostnermodernwest.com. “It would create the opportunity for a genuine exchange much greater than the movie, TV interview or magazine.”
Modern West’s music often has more of a rock sound than a country twang, aside from the harmonicas and strings, though country is where Costner’s musical preference lies.
Costner and fellow band member John Coinman met at an acting workshop and began collaborating musically in the early 1980s. Coinman’s role as music supervisor on the movie “Dances with Wolves” was one of many opportunities for him. As Costner’s acting commitments abounded, “Roving Boy,” the band Costner and Coinman began together, kept on working without the Oscar winner, though it never stopped generating music about all things country.
Other Modern West members include regulars Teddy Morgan, Blair Forward, Larry Cobb and Park Chisholm. Occasionally, fiddlers Luke Bella and Bobby Yang join them when they’re not working on other solo projects or touring with the likes of John Mayer or Counting Crows.
Eventually, in August 2005, Costner’s desire to return to his musical side called to him and his wife, Christine, to tour.
During the tour, which began October 2007, Modern West played in cities as far away as Istanbul and Rome. Costner has said in various interviews that being onstage in a musical capacity has been satisfying.
“... If life has taught me anything, it was not (to) be stopped by the question or the unknown,” wrote Costner on kevincostnermodernwest.com. “F—- it, what did I have to lose but maybe some of the best times of my life?”
In late 2008, Modern West produced its first album, “Untold Truths,” through University South Records. Its introduction into the music world landed it at No. 75 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and No. 35 on the Top Heatseekers chart. Two singles, “Superman 14” and “Long Hot Night,” were released to radio and both were made into a live music videos.
Staying true to the country genre, both singles appeal thematically to old hometown memories: from backyard images of trains on the tracks, junk cars and reminiscing about one’s youth.
Costner knows his audience is curious about being an actor turned musician, but his Web site indicates that he dismisses those who doubt the transition. His voice, mellow with a hint of raspiness, is as distinct on the radio as it is on a movie screen.
So, he plays on.
Kevin Costner and Modern West have been nominated for the 2009 Country Music Television awards’ Wide Open Country Video of the Year for “Backyard.” Voters interested in giving the band a nod can do so at www.cmt.com/cmt-music-awards.com by May 19. The awards show airs on June 17.
Never mind Kevin Costner’s work in “Bull Durham,” “The Bodyguard” or “Swing Vote.” Even if he were not an A-list actor, his music still reflects his devotion to that which makes him happy: telling stories.
The show is Friday at 8 p.m. at Silver Legacy Resort Casino. Tickets are $85, $70 and $60 and can be purchased online at www.silverlegacy.com and www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-687-8733 or 325-7401 and at the box office located on the main casino floor.