Kevin Costner: Following His Dreams
Kevin Costner appeared at The Birchmere in Alexandria on December 2nd with his band Modern West. That’s right, Kevin Costner sings and plays guitar. My friend, Pat, recently interviewed Kevin for an upcoming issue of Country Weekly magazine and she invited me to accompany her to the show.
When we arrived the place was packed and I was concerned about getting a good seat. I needn’t have worried. We were on the guest list and our seats had been reserved right up front. How awesome was that? Pat had even been given backstage passes and we were both pretty excited about meeting Kevin Costner before the show. The first thing I noticed when we walked backstage was how tall Kevin was, and then as we chatted I was impressed by his casual charm, humor, and sincerity. Pat and I practically floated back to our seats.
As Kevin explained from the stage, many of his friends told him he was crazy to pursue a career in singing. He had achieved so much in life as a successful actor and director – why mess things up? But his wife encouraged him to follow his dreams, especially after seeing him come alive performing with his band.
Costner humbly took the stage with his band Modern West at The Birchmere and said he hoped we would enjoy their brand of rock and roll. He then looked out at the crowd and said with a smile, “Wow, you guys are a lot taller in person.” The audience laughed because he just said what we were all thinking about him and he knew it.
He said they would be playing some new songs during the evening then said, “Who am I kidding? They’re probably all new songs to you guys.” Since Costner co-wrote several of the songs on his album Untold Truths, he introduced each selection with a story or explanation.
The idea for the song “5 Minutes from America” was conceived on a trip to the gulf coast after the devastation of hurricane Katrina during the filming of The Guardian. The song “Don’t Lock Him Away” was written as a word of advice to the young girl featured in the movie Swing Vote. “Find That Girl” is based on his real life experience of seeing that special someone in a crowded room and being unable to meet her because of the crowd. Kevin shyly confessed after the song that he did indeed find that girl and make her his wife.
Before singing “Every Intention” Kevin asked the ladies in the room to give men a break because they all make mistakes. As he finished the song he placed his hand over his heart and faced left, right and center saying “Sorry” to every woman in the room, apologizing on behalf of all men. This probably didn’t earn any points with the guys but certainly won the hearts of the ladies.
The most endearing story Costner told was about learning to ride a Sting-Ray bicycle as a young boy. He had complained to his mom that he couldn’t keep pace with the other boys. She took an ace of spades and clipped it on the rear spokes with a clothes pin and told him that he’d be the leader of the pack. Kevin figured if one would make him fast, the whole deck would make him faster but unfortunately the tire wouldn’t budge with all those cards. That’s when he learned that less is more. However, he still couldn’t keep up with the boys so his mom took a bath towel, pinned it to his shirt and told him he would fly on that bike. Thus the song “Superman 14” was born.
Throughout the evening I was thoroughly entertained by Kevin’s stories and songs. He may not have a polished voice but he can hold his own. His band mates are extremely talented and complement him greatly. He truly does come alive on that stage, having fun making music with his band.