by Lisa Schreiner
Going out to the eastern end of Long Island for Memorial Day weekend has been a tradition for decades. Tourists and natives alike make the pilgrimage via the Hampton Jitney, limos, cars, trains, private jets and even helicopters to honor the unofficial start of the summer season. Catching a Kiefer Sutherland show at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett seems to be adding to the tradition. On May 26th, Sutherland and his band helped kick off the holiday weekend, performing at the legendary venue for the second year in a row.
“Kiefer Sutherland, the actor? He plays music?” This seemed to be the general response by passersby who questioned patrons waiting on line outside of the Talkhouse. Yes, that Kiefer Sutherland (as if there might be another one to confuse him with). Yes, he does play music. Quite well, in fact. Though his acting is undoubtedly superb in it’s own right, when Kiefer Sutherland slings a guitar around his body and kicks into one of his Johnny Cash-esque tunes, it’s easy to see that this is where his heart lies.
There has always been a stigma attached to actors becoming musicians, so it’s understandable that Sutherland had reservations about bringing his songs to the masses. His lifelong passion for music, and perhaps a nudge from his best friend and producer Jude Cole, lead Kiefer to abandon caution and release his debut album Down In a Hole last summer. Judging by the sold out crowd at the Stephen Talkhouse, Kiefer Sutherland not only steered clear of the stigma, he soared well past it.
Opening with “Can’t Stay Away”, a bluesy-rock-country song reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen that’s about the actor/musician’s…enthusiasm…for a good time (and the repercussions that proceed them), Sutherland immediately had the crowd in the palm of his hand. His firm grip on the audience remained as he showcased Down In a Hole, playing “Not Enough Whiskey”, “Shirley Jean” and “I’ll Do Anything” amongst covering Tom Petty’s “Honey Bee” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”.
As well as he plays the role of President Tom Kirkman on ABC’s Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland could stop acting tomorrow and dedicate his career solely to music and that would be perfectly okay (but maybe don’t actually do it just yet, Mr. Sutherland. Designated Survivor is too good of a show). This man has a passion for music not witnessed in today’s music nearly as much as it should be. It’s refreshing. And needed. Desperately. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, Jr. might be Kiefer’s inspirations, but he certainly holds his own in the outlaw country realm. His love and respect for music was palpable with each song brought to life on stage at the Stephen Talkhouse.
Kiefer Sutherland’s debut album Down In a Hole is available now online and in stores. Check out his official site for all information on his music and tour.