On September 18, Luke Grimes announced that he would be releasing Pain Pills Or Pews, an eight-track EP that is sure to solidify his role within the country music industry. As of October 20, the highly-anticipated project is finally available to stream on all platforms, and it is just as incredible as we imagined.

“I don’t deserve this. Full stop. Yet, here it is. I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me get here. A dream of putting music out in the world and getting to share it live is now something of a reality. Thank you for listening and showing up. Pain Pills Or Pews EP out October 20th,” the emerging artist shared via Instagram, along with the cover art for the EP itself.

In an interview with Music Mayhem and other media, the budding country star spilled all the behind-the-scenes secrets surrounding Pain Pills Or Pews, as well as what the transition from acting to singing has been like so far.

Luke Grimes; Photo Provided
Luke Grimes; Photo Provided

Opened Up About Debut EP, Pain Pills or Pews

Consisting of eight must-listen tracks, with five of them being pre-released hits — “No Horse to Ride,” “Oh Ohio,” “Hold On,” “Playin’ On The Tracks” and “Burn” — Pain Pills or Pews is sure to be topping the country music charts in no time.

When asked how he was able to pinpoint which songs would be included on his first-ever project, Grimes spilled, “I feel like out of the ones that we have cut so far, those eight just felt complete as a thing on its own, and it touched on a lot of the bases, you know, kind of the things that I wanted to say on this first outing… There was enough sort of different tempos and different feels, and I think, you know, it just felt kind of complete.”

Luke Grimes 'Pain Pills Or Pews' EP Art
Luke Grimes ‘Pain Pills Or Pews’ EP Art

Each Song Has Its “Own Identity”

While each song is known for having “their own identity,” the Mercury Nashville/Range Music recording artist elaborated on some of the EP’s most notable tracks, pinpointing “Ain’t Dead Yet” as one of his all-time favorites.

“Clearly we’ve tried to make sure that all of them kind of have their own identity, but the one that sticks out to me being the most sort of in its own lane and unique is probably ‘Ain’t Dead Yet,’ the last song on the EP. I’ve just never heard anything like it,” the actor-turned-singer shared.

“We were like, ‘Well, what if Kurt Cobain was country? Like, what would that sound like? You know?’ and we started there… The way Dave recorded the song, it was just so fun to watch something like that from no one even having an idea to seeing this like being one of my favorite songs, and it’s the song we close every show with, because it’s really fun to play live,” Grimes concluded with a grin.

Luke Grimes And Universal Music Group Nashville; Photo Courtesy of Chris Hollo
Luke Grimes And Universal Music Group Nashville; Photo Courtesy of Chris Hollo

While the entire project concludes with the phenomenal “Ain’t Dead Yet,” all eight songs on Pain Pills or Pews are nothing short of spectacular.

Pain Pills or Pews Track List

  1. No Horse to Ride (Luke Grimes, Tony Lane, Jonathan Singleton)
  2. Hold On (Foy Vance, Isley Juber)
  3. Ghost of Who We Are (Luke Grimes, Rodney Clawson, Nicolle Galyon)
  4. Where It’s Blue (Colton Venner)
  5. Burn (Luke Grimes, Josh Thompson, Randy Montana)
  6. Playin’ On The Tracks (Luke Grimes, Brent Cobb)
  7. Oh Ohio (Luke Grimes, Jon Randall, Jessi Alexander)
  8. Ain’t Dead Yet (Luke Grimes, Aaron Raitiere)
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Transition from Acting to Music

Known for his stellar acting performance on Yellowstone, Grimes is equally as talented when it comes to making music, which has proven to be true now that Pain Pills or Pews is out for the world to hear.

Fans of the hit drama series have just one question for Grimes: How has the country crooner been handling the transition from acting to music?

“I have loved it. Little did I know how much I was going to like the people in this business and the town and Music Row, and it’s been awesome. It really has been a dream,” the soon-to-be country star gushed, however, releasing music was never a goal of his — it was simply a hobby.

“Honestly, it’s not something that I ever dreamed of doing professionally or ambitiously,” the 39-year-old revealed. “I was always in bands, [and] it was always something I did for fun. Anywhere, I’ve gone in the last 20 years, I’ve had a guitar with me. It’s just something I loved, and it was a hobby.”

Luke Grimes; Photo Courtesy of Facebook
Luke Grimes; Photo Courtesy of Facebook

Never Had Plans To Become A Singer

Despite not having plans to become a musician, the Dayton, Ohio native has learned quite a few things during his short-lived journey in the country music industry so far.

“The cool thing about the journey of being a musician is that it is about constant learning and getting better and stretching yourself, and a thousand percent since I’ve been here, I’ve learned a lot… Starting with the songwriting process, you know, so many great tools for my tool belt that I’ve learned off these incredible, incredible songwriters — best in the world,” he explained.

“I was definitely pretty rough around the edges when it came to singing, just because I’ve never heard myself… It’s not something I ever worked on, just something I did for fun, and I guess having to go into a studio and like really critique yourself and hear yourself like that, you know, I feel like I’ve grown a lot in that way too, and really have just fallen in love with the whole process,” Grimes concluded passionately.

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Performing Live

Aside from working on some brand-new tunes, Grimes has been focusing on becoming a better performer. With dozens of live shows on the horizon, now is the time to perfect his craft.

“With what I’ve done for a long time, there’s no audience. There’s no interaction. There’s no immediate sort of either gratification or feeling of failure, and that’s what I’ve been liking about doing these live shows… I never really have to meet my fans in the other realms. I don’t want to, you know what I mean? With music, it’s the only way you can do it really. Like, if you’re not out there doing that, you’re not really doing it,” the talented singer-songwriter dished, comparing being an actor to being an artist in terms of interacting with his fans.

While seeing the fans react to his music during live shows has been extremely eye-opening (for better or worse), Grimes revealed that “there’s also a pressure to that,” ultimately instilling a new sense of fear in the rising country star.

Luke Grimes; Photo by Jake Hoffman
Luke Grimes; Photo by Jake Hoffman

Stagecoach Festival Was Luke Grimes’ First-Ever Live Concert

In the same interview, the fast-rising star reflected on his first few times performing for a crowd, as well as the fears that were running through his mind at the time.

“It was complete and utter terror the first few times, to be honest,” Grimes revealed. “Stagecoach was the first show we ever booked, and so clearly we were like, ‘We gotta do a couple of warm up shows or something,’ because that’s a big stage to get on right away and that’s not lost on me. I was very, very nervous… I like almost passed out.”

Fortunately, with several live performances under his belt, he has already felt a sense of improvement.

“I do see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. Like, I’m getting to the point where a few songs in I’m loosening it up [and] I’m really enjoying it, and then by the end of the set, I’m having a blast, which definitely wasn’t the case the first few times, you know? So I think like anything else, it takes time to get good enough and seasoned enough to be able to enjoy it and really put on a great show. I mean, some of these people have been doing this for years and years, you know, and if I want to get there, I’m going to have to put in that work.”

Luke Grimes; Photo Courtesy of Facebook
Luke Grimes; Photo Courtesy of Facebook

Hopes To Make His Live Performances “Better”

With numerous live shows on the horizon, the Yellowstone star is ready to conquer his fears full steam ahead, with a goal “to always have the next [performance] be better than the last.”

“The goal is to always have the next one be better than the last, and just keep improving and learning,” he gushed. “I feel like now, you know, the sets are getting longer. I’m having to like stretch out a little bit and actually talk in between songs and all that kind of stuff. I think this weekend I play Pilgrimage, which is an hour and 15 minutes, so that will be the longest show I’ve played thus far… I’ll definitely have to do some covers, and kind of fill some space.”

Recently putting on a stellar performance at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee, this was just one of the many live performances Grimes has scheduled for the remainder of 2023.

Luke Grimes; Photo Courtesy of Manuel Mancilla
Luke Grimes; Photo Courtesy of Manuel Mancilla

Upcoming Live Performances


3 – Dreamy Draw 2023 – Phoenix, Arizona

9 – Newport Music Hall – Columbus, Ohio

10 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

30 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, Minnesota


1 – Joe’s Live – Rosemont, Illinois

7 – The Studio at the Factory – Dallas, Texas

9 – Emo’s Austin – Austin, Texas

15 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

16 – Roadrunner – Boston, Massachusetts

April 2024

27 – Stagecoach 2024 – Indio, California

To catch one of the budding country star’s upcoming live shows, click HERE to secure your tickets. Until then, check out Pain Pills Or Pews on all streaming platforms.

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Melanie has been writing for Music Mayhem since August of 2023. Originally from Southern California and currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, she graduated from Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in 2023 with a BA in Journalism. During her time as a music/entertainment journalist, Melanie’s work has been featured in Country Now, Celeb Secrets, We Got This Covered, Decider and more. You can connect with her on Twitter to see all of her recent articles: @MelanieRooten

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