Kayce Dutton’s portrait of Luke Grimes, badass, killing is my business Yellowstone made him a fan favorite on the hugely popular cable drama. But before he ever picked up a branding iron for take a beating on a poor rancher on TV, Grimes was keeping the beat as a drummer in a country band from Los Angeles.
“That was around the time the alternate country thing was really going on. Wilco and Ryan Adams were really tall back then and we were kind of like that, ”says Grimes Rolling stone. “I also played guitar and helped write songs for the band, so I became more than just a drummer. It was a cool experience.
Grimes expects music to make a full comeback in 2022 – this time as a solo artist. He works with the management team behind Midland, Hailey Whitters and his Yellowstone costar Ryan Bingham (Range Media Partners, who also represents Grimes for film and television), and has been busy writing new songs. He’ll try his hand at co-writing in Nashville on an upcoming trip from his home in Montana.
Live in the “Big Sky Country”, where Yellowstone films, has shaped the music the Dayton, Ohio native both listens to and writes. Grimes and his wife are passionate about the Canadian prairie troubadour Colter Wall. “We have a record player system in our house and that of Colter [albums are] sitting right next to it, ”he says.
The son of a pastor, Grimes also praises Ruston Kelly, Paul Cauthen and the late songwriter Townes Van Zandt, as well as country legends like Willie and Merle. “I hate that word, but the ‘secular’ music I was allowed to listen to as a child was Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash,” he says. “That’s what my dad grew up on in the Appalachians. When he didn’t need to be a pastor, he played that kind of folk and country-rock.
With Yellowstone on hiatus – this month’s fourth season finale drew nearly 10 million viewers on Paramount Network – Grimes fleshed out song ideas, sings raw demos on his iPhone and shares them with musician friends he chooses not to name. But he suggests that the isolation of his current home will influence his style of country music.
“That just happens to be what my life is right now. I’m driving a diesel truck on a highway with no one on it, ”he says. “It’s how you feel to be here.”
Through the cult of Yellowstone, the fan interest in Grimes the musician is already there. “Reckless road” a song he wrote a few years ago for a TV pilot with Nashville frontman Jesse Cole (his former bandmate in LA), has found its way online. “Someone ripped it off Netflix and put it on YouTube,” Grimes said, puzzled.
He admits he listened to the pirate version of his song, but won’t be watching his hit TV series.
“It’s not about trying to be too cool to watch it. It’s just that I really don’t want to spoil my experience, ”says Grimes. “Someday when it’s all over, I’ll sit down and be able to enjoy it, when it’s another life.”