Kiefer Sutherland has a country band.
His single, “Not Enough Whisky,” was released in April, and his first album, Down In a Hole, is scheduled for release in June. Sutherland and his band played the Revelry Room at 8 pm on Sunday, May 1, in anticipation for his upcoming record, and I got to cover it.
Acoustics inside the Revelry Room meant that conversation tends to carry better than music. Generally this would be a problem; however, as the event drew nearer an understanding hush fell over the crowd, aside from scattered cheers of anticipation. As the lights dimmed the crowd rose to a roar, and Sutherland’s backup appeared onstage, followed by Kiefer himself, dressed in jeans, a button-down and black vest, and, yes, a real-life cowboy hat.
The role of “country singer/rock star” is still relatively new to Sutherland, as seen in some of his interludes. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this,” he said as the band launched into “My Best Friend,” “but this one is my favorite.”
Sutherland named Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard as influences, stating he admired how “these writers weren’t afraid to shy away from the darker stuff, and they wrote about it with a kind of dignity.” He explained this inspired him to write “Shirley Jean,” a song about a man on death row thinking about the only girl he’s ever loved. Similarly, Sutherland explained his reason for writing “Calling Out Your Name,” saying, “We all have this one moment in our lives where we lose our innocence, and it usually involves a heartbreak. It was good of me to write a song about it because it put it in perspective for me.”
The best word to summarize a Kiefer Sutherland performance is genuine. Every member of the band, especially Sutherland, appeared to be having the time of their lives. Even his darker, more soulful songs were infused with the same joy of playing. And if Sutherland’s grinning and head-banging and general rocking out weren’t convincing enough, he took every opportunity to thank the audience for supporting him and his band.
“I’ve had one of the luckiest lives of anyone I know,” he admitted to the audience, a statement met with thunderous applause. If Sutherland continues to perform with the same sincerity and enthusiasm as he did on Sunday, I’d say there’s a lot more luck to come