Chris Stapleton lends his voice to the end-credit version of “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy,” an original song from the forthcoming film Toy Story 4. The latest installment of the beloved Pixar series, starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack, hits theaters June 20th.
With a loping, cinematic Western arrangement that marries rumbling baritone guitars and lush strings, “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” — sung from protagonist Woody’s perspective — is about the rewards of opening oneself up to form lasting relationships with others. “You came along, changed my life/And fixed what was broken in me,” sings Stapleton, who recently got some onscreen time in the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Here, the Kentucky native’s powerful vocals shine even though he’s not working in his usual country-soul stylistic mode.
“To me what has made the Toy Story films hold up over time has been the strength of the stories and the songs and the writing and the characters,” said Stapleton in a release. “There’s something for people of all ages to enjoy in the world that is Toy Story.”
“The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” was composed by singer-songwriter Randy Newman, who famously wrote the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” for the original Toy Story film and the Academy Award-winning “We Belong Together” for Toy Story 3. Newman also composed a second song, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” for Toy Story 4.
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The Toy Story 4 soundtrack, which will be released June 21st, is available for pre-order. Stapleton, meanwhile, is headlining his All-American Road Show Tour this summer, with the next show taking place July 9th in Allentown, Pennsylvania.