The latest episode of “Yellowstone” highlighted a series of indie country favorites whose sounds deviate far from the pop realm and into much more jam-band, down-home and roots-driven offerings. The music that accompanied the lonesome longings of main character John Dutton rather accurately tied into his character’s desires (or lack thereof).
Blackberry Smoke – “All Over The Road”
Veteran Atlanta-based Blackberry Smoke are a throwback to whiskey-soaked rock jams and searing guitar riffs being met with backwoods boogies or deep, emotional responses. “All Over The Road” is the lead single from the band’s May-released, Dave Cobb-produced album You Hear Georgia, which similar to the work of Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell — two other artists that Cobb’s had a hand in producing — the rootsier and more soulful elements of the genre are front and center.
Colter Wall – “Cowpoke”
Of the tracks licensed for the fourth season of “Yellowstone,” Colter Wall’s “Cowpoke” — on title alone — could be the most apropos selection of the lot. Alongside “Sleeping On The Blacktop,” it’s his latest appearance on the program. The 2020 release from his album Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs is a self-produced cover of a 1951-released Elton Britt and the Skytoppers track that includes the powerfully poignant line, “I ain’t got a dime in these ol’ wore-out jeans/so I’ll stop eating steak and go back to beans.” It’s a gut-puncher of a song, for certain.
Zach Bryan – “Flying Or Crying”
Dave Cobb-produced “Condemned” was another Zach Bryan release that has been featured — as has now, “Flying Or Crying,” on the current season of Yellowstone. The 2019-released track includes lyrics like, “Don’t stop running boy, but don’t be naive, cause this world will break and burn you worse than hearts like ours believe.” So if looking for the track that maybe fits this episode best, it’s here. “Give your heart but keep your head,” advises Bryan in his Twitter bio. With songs like these, he’s clearly an artist that feels true to his creative motivations.
Turnpike Troubadors – “The Mercury”
“It’s one of the clubs where we first cut out teeth in the Tulsa music scene and remains one of our favorite watering holes,” said Turnpike Troubadors bassist RC Edwards about their 2015-released single. “The characters in the song are familiar faces from ‘The Funeral’ and ‘Good Lord Lorrie’ and an expansion of the canon of the Turnpike Troubadour universe.” The rabble-rousing barroom stomper fits well into the mood and vibe of “Yellowstone.”