Another Stapleton song. This one with a religious theme.
Here’s a pretty song.
Camera Girl is a remarkable human being but she is, foremost, a woman. And any husband worth his salt will tell you that’s not an unalloyed blessing. One of the many things that separate women from rational human beings is their love of soap operas. And this includes that bane of late 20th and early 21st century life, the nighttime soap. Luckily when we were young, we had children so we were too busy in the heyday of nighttime soaps to watch Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing, Melrose Place and the rest of that bilge.
But now that we are mostly empty nesters it’s no longer safe. And every once in a while, Camera Girl will reach beyond her annoying predilection for cop shows and look for something truly awful. And so it is that I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the demented saga that is Yellowstone. Kevin Costner and a mostly unknown cast (at least to me) ride horses and shoot guns up in Montana trying to preserve their Ponderosa sized cattle ranch from the real estate speculators, Indian tribes, disloyal cowboys, hedge fund pirates and other assorted lunatics who all seem to need killing. And kill them they do. Their enemies end up shot, stabbed, drowned, blown up, or pushed off cliffs more or less with impunity. And within the family, hatred and dysfunction are on full display. The daughter is a foul-mouthed man-eating lawyer. The lawyer son is her foil that she despises, berates and occasionally assaults. The cowboy brother is the hero, I guess. He’s a decorated war hero and his Indian wife and son have left the reservation and live on the ranch now.
The show truly is a ridiculous nighttime soap with egregious plots and ridiculous dialog. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I started hearing some of my favorite country artists on the soundtrack. Colter Wall, Tyler Childers, Chris Stapleton, Ryan Bingham and a bunch of other good to excellent country acts provide at least an interesting aural experience to go along with the annoying goings on at the Dutton family ranch.
One other saving grace that the show possesses are the vistas and landscapes that seem to surround you wherever you look in that magnificent big sky country. The juxtaposition of soaring snowy mountains, cascading rivers, verdant plains and technicolor blue skies can be seen sometimes all in one shot. You often find yourself wanting to yell at the actors to shut up and get out of the camera’s field of view and stop ruining the experience of just seeing and hearing the grandeur on display. But unfortunately, thy will go on yammering about whatever crime or deal they are conniving that week.
So that tells you all you need to know about the show. And honestly there is no way I can say I recommend this train wreck of a television experience. It’s a ghastly offense against story-telling. If you’re an enormous Kevin Costner fan I guess you can justify watching it to see him. He is one of the better parts of the show but even that isn’t saying much. And you can just listen to the soundtrack without watching the show. And I’m sure National Geographic has tons of documentary footage of Montana and Wyoming wilderness to watch anytime you want.
I, on the other hand, have to watch. Camera Girl is a woman and therefore barbarically cruel. I can always hope it will be cancelled soon. Damn you Costner.
Chris Stapleton is a big country music star. His 2015 debut solo album Traveller was double platinum and went to number 1 on Billboard. But I only heard of him when I looked up a song that was on the soundtrack of the movie Hell or High Water that I watched last year. That was the song “Outlaw State of Mind.” So, I figured I’d buy the album it was released on and that was “Traveller.” Chris Stapleton is a very successful songwriter with his songs being sung by country artists such as Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. And when you listen to this album you realize he is a fantastic lyricist. It is filled with great music. There are all kinds of different songs, songs about love, heartache, addiction, music, God and working-class alienation. There’s plenty of good stuff on it but being the romantic that I am my favorite song on the album is a love song called “More of You.” It’ a mandolin accompaniment to a husband describing his undying love for his wife. As a man married for almost a lifetime to a woman as stubborn and aggravating as Camera Girl no one is more aware of the homicidal impulses that can awaken in a husband’s tortured mind when such a woman really tries to twist the knife. But I also know the flipside, which is that a good marriage is the best thing that can happen to a man. This song captures that good side. It is simple, tender and beautiful.
Traveller is a good country album. Give it a try.
So this is the companion to my review of the movie “Hell or High Water” movie. The film brings up to the present day the Texas outlaw genre. The music is a mixture of evocative movie background instrumental and then songs from various artists that speak to the theme. The artists, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Waylon Jennings, Colter Wall, Scott H. Biram and Chris Stapleton are far from uniform in their styles or even genre. I believe Van Zandt is considered a folk music singer/songwriter but the songs fit the theme and even the instrumental pieces provided by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis fit together well and qualify as actual music and not just sound effects. I’ve listed the non-instrumental songs below. All in all, an enjoyable album of music. Recommended for when you’re feeling like an outlaw which for me lately is most of the time.
Dollar Bill Blues
by Townes Van Zandt
Dust of the Chase
by Ray Wylie Hubbard
You Ask Me To
by Waylon Jennings
Sleeping On The Blacktop
by Colter Wall
Blood, Sweat and Murder
by Scott H. Biram
Outlaw State Of Mind
by Chris Stapleton