“Yellowstone” Actor Luke Grimes Launches Country Career, New Song
We’ve seen the hit TV show series Yellowstone help wing a dozen or so worthy independent country artists into the stratosphere through the show’s soundtrack, from Whiskey Myers who was featured early and often, to Zach Bryan who currently sits atop Billboard’s TV Songs Chart (yep, that’s a thing now). Established performers Ryan Bingham and now Lainey Wilson also both appear in the show’s cast.
But now we’re seeing a reversal of roles as one of the primary cast members of Yellowstone has just signed a major label record deal, is working with some heavy hitters in Nashville, and has released his debut song ahead of an album expected in 2023.
Luke Grimes plays Kayce Dutton in the Yellowstone series—the son of John Dutton (Kevin Costner) who works as a horseman and ranch hand on the Dutton Ranch. The character was also once in the NAVY Seals, and is married to Monica Long.
In real life, Luke Grimes was born in Dayton, Ohio, and is the son of a Pentacostal pastor. Grimes grew up singing and playing music in church, including learning how to play drums at a church camp, and later learning piano and guitar. Grimes also briefly played drums in a band in Los Angeles before his acting career took off.
As an actor, Grimes appeared in the 2014 film American Sniper, as well as the Fifty Shades of Grey film series. Grimes was also part of a 2012 television film for FX called Outlaw Country. Designed to be a pilot for an intended series about organized crime in Nashville with ties to music, the series was never picked up.
Fast forward to 2022, and Luke Grimes has officially signed with Universal Music Group Nashville with a debut album in the works. The now 38-year-old says he grew up on Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson, and cites Colter Wall, Ruston Kelly, and Paul Cauthen as modern influences.
Rumor has it that Grimes has been writing with some serious heavyweights in Nashville, including Brent Cobb, Jamey Johnson, Jon Randall, Josh Osborn, Jessi Alexander, The Love Junkies (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey), all with Dave Cobb as a producer.
On Friday (12-16), Grimes released his debut single, “No Horse To Ride.” A love song conveying appreciation and devotion to a significant other, it was co-written with Jonathan Singleton and Tony Lane, and features steel guitar stealing in after the first verse. Certainly country and compelling, “No Horse To Ride” also feels a little safe, but that might be a smart debut for an actor turned musician.
Whether Luke Grimes will be a contender in the music space and the latest to benefit off the wild popularity of Yellowstone remains to be seen. He’s already been booked for an appearance at this summer’s Under The Big Sky Fest outside of Whitefish, Montana. The festival has had a close relationship with the show over the years.
What we do know is that Kayce Dutton is uninterested in pursuing the pop side of country. Whether he can hang in the country side of country with his influences on the Yellowstone soundtrack, we’ll just have to see.
December 16, 2022 @ 11:18 am
I think I hear some Brandon Jenkins in there.
December 16, 2022 @ 12:04 pm
I was just thinking of Brandon Jenkins the other day.
December 16, 2022 @ 11:50 am
OK, why is this list of metaphors of massive affection more worthy of praise than “Better Together” or even “Made for You”? Is it more genuine to sing that being without the love of your life is like being a cowboy with no horse to ride than it’s like being a good ol’ boy without beer tp drink or a ship without a sea to float on? Boyfriend country with sneaky steel is still boyfriend country, right?
I like his voice a lot more than Jake Owen’s, but I don’t get why I’m supposed to like the song if it walks the exact same path lyrically as songs that get crushed here.
December 16, 2022 @ 1:14 pm
This wasn’t a review of the song as much as a news item about this guy getting into music. As I said though, I find this song pretty safe. “Mid” if you will. Not bad, but nothing special. I look forward to his album though, especially with the folks he’s rumored to be working with. This is his first shot. Let’s see what he has in store.
December 16, 2022 @ 1:44 pm
The Ruston Kelly influence is cool
December 20, 2022 @ 5:10 pm
I like the show and Luke seems like a really good dude in interviews, but let’s get real here. This is like a Marvel spinoff cash grab while iron is hot. No one decides to be a country singer, then immediately signs to the biggest record label in Nashville and immediately writes with Grammy winners except Tik Tok viral stars and The Voice winners. What material does he have that he will play at the Montana festival? Has he ever played live before as a front man (though he has drumming chops)? Can he play at all? All of these things take years to develop. This is yet another example of modern music business but this time it’s with a person most people already know which creates incredible pressure for him due to this popularity outside music. I don’t see it working out well. I not so secretly wish this money was dumped on Ryan Bingham considering he has the chops and experience to back it up. I think more than anything I want more genuine talented artists get a shot at the big stage and he doesn’t seem to fit the bill, but rather the cliche we have seen so many times. I hope I’m wrong.
December 16, 2022 @ 4:25 pm
Jamey Johnson is writing again?
December 16, 2022 @ 4:30 pm
He continues to turn in a couple of co-writes each year, and has for a while. He just doesn’t seem to want to write anything for himself.
December 16, 2022 @ 5:10 pm
It Goes Back To The Old Saying, “ALL Actors Want to be Singers, And ALL Singers Want To Be Actors”…IT NEVER Changes !
Keepin’ it Country
December 16, 2022 @ 6:20 pm
George Strait the Actor
December 17, 2022 @ 1:02 am
Ladies and Gentlemen…Dusty!
December 17, 2022 @ 7:26 am
This song is ok. I’d actually heard it already without knowing any background. Too early to tell if the album will be good or not, but with the people involved, I’m interested to see how it turns out.
December 17, 2022 @ 2:08 pm
Haven’t seen “Yellowstone,” but good luck,Luke !!!! Hopefully you’ll match the other two Lukes’ success !!!!!
December 17, 2022 @ 4:31 pm
He was back stage with Jamey Johnson at Under the Big Sky this past year. I could see him right off the VIP area laughing at us after we recognized him. Interesting to see what the album sounds like.
Honky Tonk Town
December 18, 2022 @ 6:41 pm
Produced by Dave Cobb, written by him, Jonathan Singleton and Tony Lane.
Label> Universal Musical
So you can see that independent artist and small artists probably won’t have space at the show anymore.
Ryan Bingham was featured in a bunch of playlists by Spotify after his notable act and singing. He conquered it.
Now we see the opposite, a good actor trying to be a singer. I admire that but this song is not good. As singer he is an excellent actor. But you know, sponsors, labels, money…You can pay the best in around in the music industry .
December 20, 2022 @ 9:19 am
There is an authenticity problem with Yellowstone and an authenticity problem with this song. His voice is fair. If he was singing about anything resembling his life I’d give it a chance. But Kayce Dutton isn’t a real person, isn’t even a believable fake person. He’s singing as Kayce, not Luke Grimes. Maybe some people love the mythology of the show so much they want to hear him sing in character a la Gene Autry. I love Gene Autry so who knows maybe it will work. But no thanks.
December 23, 2022 @ 7:07 am
Its ok and not bad but for me nothing special. It will be interesting to hear more.
February 2, 2023 @ 2:24 am
Luke can shred on the drums brother, I used to help run sound, for BLIZZARD, a national convention for the Open Bible Church s, in Columbus Ohio every year, I met him when he was just a young man, and trust me, Ive been a musician my whole life, when I saw this kid play and sing, he s the real deal. Started watching Yellowstone, saw his name, and was like WHY does it sound familiar, and looked him up, only to find it was same kid, His sister is an awesome bass player/singer as well, sure fame, has given him a leg up, BUT GOD did the work in this young mas life, dont hate on him too much, instead look where he began, and where he is now, and draw your own conclusions HE CAN PLAY 🙂 peace brother