One of the untold truths that Kevin Costner & Modern West holds is that the actor is also a country singer. It's a fact that's been pretty well-hidden from the general public for many, many years, but according to the press release that accompanies the group's 2008 debut, Untold Truths, Costner and right-hand man John Coinman have been playing music for a long, long time, stretching back to the late '80s. Given this, maybe it's appropriate that Untold Truths feels like it belongs to the late '80s, when Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp ruled the charts with heartland rock. This is Costner & Modern West's heritage, surely more than it is modern country, with the band often threatening to dip into inadvertent Mellencamp tributes time and time again. As familiar a sound as this may be, Modern West pull it off well, if not with much more distinction than a good bar band on a Thursday night, and Costner is the right guy to front them, too: there's a bit of sandpaper to his voice but it's softer than expected. He's an everyman, not a showboating celeb, but that's kind of the point of Modern West: they're the band next door, the kind of group you could see in any American town around the time Dances with Wolves came out and still can in many sections of the U.S. today. This may raise the question as to why you would want to listen to Untold Truths when you can find similar music in your own hometown, but there's something to be said for Costner & Modern West accomplishing their goal of sounding as ordinary as possible.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine