WHEN Kiefer Sutherland’s last album Reckless & Me hit No9 in 2019, he felt he had finally let go of the “actor turned musician” cliché and responded to critics who considered his music It’s a futile project.
With a hit album and more than 100 live performances, Sutherland – best known for his role as Jack Bauer in the TV series 24 – feels like he’s earned his title. Well, at least a glass of whiskey.
He said: “Yes, that’s important, and I know this is going to come back to bite me, but sometimes you feel like you really earned a drink. And it was definitely one of those times. ”
For now, the actor-songwriter is hoping for more success with his third album Bloor Street, which he says revolves around love and positivity, combines blues, Americana and country and is primarily written in downtime.
He said: “I would say that three-quarters of the songs were written during the pandemic.
“It was a moment to reflect on how fortunate and grateful I have been. I wanted to share that with these songs. “
Sutherland is chatting via video call from his home in LA, where he has lived during the pandemic.
He was charming, in his white shirt and tortoiseshell glasses, he looked smart and well-groomed – in contrast to the scruffy hellraiser he’s often portrayed.
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He continued: “It’s good to be back home like I’ve been on the road for ten years.
“I usually don’t see my house for more than two weeks. It’s been the longest I’ve been here and it’s given me a lot of time to think and write.
“I realized that I was taking things for granted and started writing songs that I never had before.
“Songs like So Full OfLove are expressions of gratitude, kindness, and humility.
“I woke up humming that tune, then I was in the shower and singing it. So when I sunbathe on the kitchen island, where I write a lot of songs, half of me burst out laughing, thinking this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever written.
“I never wrote songs like this. I wanted to be great, but the songs of gratitude kept playing.
“I’m really lucky in my life and while I certainly don’t want to minimize the hardship so many people have had during the pandemic, on a personal level it’s been a moment to reflect on How grateful I am. ”
Born in London but raised in Canada, Sutherland left school at 15 to pursue an acting career and made her screen debut with her famous father Donald in the 1983 film Max Dugan Returns.
His many well-known roles since then include Stand By Me, The Lost Boys and Young Guns on the big screen, plus Designated Survivor and 24 on TV.
But with her love for Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, and writing her first song as a teenager, becoming a musician is something Sutherland gradually felt more confident about as the album came out. Debuted Down In A Hole in 2016.
Even so, when childhood friend and musical partner Jude Cole first suggested it, his response was “On my corpse”.
But Sutherland says writing the third album has given him renewed faith in his own experiences and life story. A sense of childhood nostalgia inspired the song and album title Bloor Street, which Sutherland wrote after working in Canada.
“It was one of those songs written before the pandemic,” he told me. I’m filming Designated Survivor in Toronto. That’s where I grew up, where I went to school – no school, sort of.
“And I was walking down Bloor Street, that was the first corner for me – my first job was washing dishes in a food court there, my first meaningful kiss was at the train entrance. Underground.
“And the first time I was beaten up, doing something stupid was there. I realized that all the things I went through made me a young man. Everything happened on this street.
“My twin sister (Rachel) also still lives in the city, so I got over a wave of nostalgia. Writing Bloor Street is deeply personal, and that’s a nice title for the record, too. “
Being in Toronto was an emotional time for Sutherland. His mother, actress and activist Shirley Douglas, passed away in April 2020, and Sutherland wrote the song So Full Of Love as a tribute to her.
“My mother passed away at the beginning of the pandemic,” he said. She is an important part of my life.
“I wrote about my daughter and mother on my last album, on Saskatchewan and Song For A Daughter songs.
“Americana music allows you to write a story in first person and since I have never written a diary, the songs will be the closest thing I have to a diary.
“When all of this starts coming out, whether you like it or not, writing becomes a therapy.
“But that’s all good. I think time has calmed me down. I am like a good shiny old rock that started out as a piece of jagged granite. ”
Being personal and open is something that Sutherland has had to get used to since he started his musical career.
“After 30 years of working in front of the camera or on stage as an actor, I find being on stage as a musician very different from hiding behind a character or an actor,” he said. the script.
“It was standing in front of 400 strangers telling them something personal about myself in a way that I never had in an interview.
“But I love how the music connects with the audience. When you can see someone in the third row nod because they’ve had a similar experience that’s it.
“I had such generous audiences. If you can connect with that crowd, man, those are the best nights you’ll ever have.
“And it was really hard at first. But if it wasn’t well received by the audience, it might have been a very brief experience, but the truth is I’ve been doing it for ten years now. And I love it.”
The tender piano ballad County Jail Gate is another highlight of the album. It’s a story about a lifelong criminal who can’t get out of prison.
Sutherland himself spent 48 days in prison in California for drunk driving in 2007 – so how much of the song is his own story?
He told me: “It is completely my story. Except that in that song, the character is in prison for a long time.
“I was watching a movie and started being a man out of prison. The prison gates start to open, you will hear a commotion and see flashing lights.
“It made me very uncomfortable watching it and I came up with the saying, ‘It’s not surprising that I’ve learned to hate more than a county jail gate’.
“The times I got in trouble for the mistakes I made were some of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I’m really annoyed that my behavior has led to those times.”
Sutherland’s past misdemeanors include driving under the influence, assault, and carrying a concealed and loaded weapon. He said: “I first got into trouble when I was 12 and the song is about how I stopped spinning and faced it – it was time to move on.
“I certainly don’t sing a song about how fun it is to go to prison. It’s really simple – you don’t have to fight the person, just walk away.
“The part that annoyed me the most was that I behaved irresponsibly and I am a father. I actually annoyed myself with that the most. I’m just glad I got through it.
“So yeah, it’s a song that says don’t do this or you’ll feel like an absolute idiot. That’s my story. Guilty as charged.”
Sutherland is a self-confessed workaholic: “I discovered early on that if I had too much time, I would lose it all.”
Besides releasing a new album, he will also make a television appearance this year as President Franklin D Roosevelt in the upcoming TV series The First Lady.
He said it was “heartbreaking” to have to postpone his UK tour, which was due to start at the end of January.
He added: “I’ve been practicing for almost two years, now have three albums and a great show so it’s been hard to postpone, but we’re in the midst of a pandemic.
“I’m filming a TV show from May to September, then I’ll be ready to go on tour. I keep my faith that it will and eventually this virus will be in our rearview mirror. I can’t wait to flip it.”
KIEFER – Bloor Street
- Bloor Street
- Two steps in time
- So full of love
- County prison gate
- Lean Into Me
- Chasing the rain
- Nothing to say
- Book me for free
- Down the line
- Bloor Street premieres January 21
https://www.thesun.ie/tvandshowbiz/music/8202907/kiefer-sutherland-new-album-bloor-street/ Kiefer Sutherland on how the song inspired his prison past on his new album Bloor Street