Say the name Kiefer Sutherland and what’s the first thing that comes to mind? TV and movie actor? How about singer and musician? No? Well, he is out to change your mind about that. Sutherland is set to release his debut country album Down in a Hole this summer and his first single “Not Enough Whiskey” is available digitally now. CMChat caught up with him to talk about his album, touring and the balance of being an actor and a musician.
The first release from the album, “Not Enough Whiskey,” sounds as if Bruce Springsteen were to go country. It’s Americana music with grit. Sutherland says that he wants each person to find their own individual meaning in his songs but, for him, they are the closest thing he could come to writing a journal. “These songs are very personal to me in my life,” he says.
“I think by the end of a show the audience and myself realize we’ve got a lot more in common than we would think, so maybe that’s what I would like the listener to come away with.”
Sutherland didn’t set out specifically to do this project, it just kind of happened organically.
“I had really no intention of making a record,” he explains, “I had maybe 25 songs that I had written and I took them to a friend of mine to record a couple of them and see if another artist would record them. When we were doing the demos, Jude (Cole) really liked the way they sounded, and so did I, and so we just kept recording songs that way.”
He has spent the last couple months on tour in both the U.S. and Canada and even made his debut at The Grand Ole Opry. He admits that going on stage to sing his own songs for the first time made him very nervous.
“The very first time I went on stage I was scared to death,” Sutherland quips. “I wanted people to like the songs and they hadn’t heard them before. So it was a nerve-wracking experience. The audience was really gracious though and that went away pretty quickly.” He was thinking about playing to that audience when he wrote these songs. “I think why I chose to write in the kind of Americana country world is that if you listen to, for instance Johnny Cash, I know for a fact that he did not shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die, but as a songwriter, he put himself in the first person narrative. It’s just another way for me tell a story, whether it’s doing a play or doing a film or now playing these songs live. That’s the thing that I’m kind of most excited about.”
Many actors are branded as having “vanity projects” when they decide to make an album. Sutherland understands the stigma attached to it but humbly admits “you could fill the Grand Canyon with what I don’t know about the music business.” He is taking it in stride and says he is not out to sell out stadiums or sell a billion records, but he just wants to come from an honest and personal perspective.
“One of the nice things about getting older,” he adds, “is you start to care a little less about what people say and if people are going to make fun or take a shot, you know, so be it, but I was really proud of the songs and made a choice to go forward with this.”
Sutherland will wrap up his tour at the end of June and go back to filming his upcoming ABC political drama, Designated Survivor. He hopes to be able to balance his career as an actor with his new-found career as a musician and singer and promote his album as much as he can with tour dates on his days off from the show. Look for Down in a Hole to be released in mid-July and now think of Kiefer Sutherland not just as an actor but as an all-around artist.
What do you think about “Not Enough Whiskey?” Tell us below or you can tweet me @shanherrold and let me know.