Kiefer Sutherland has been a professional actor for many years, starring in movies like ‘Stand By Me’, ‘The Lost Boys’, ‘Young Guns’, Flatliners’, ‘A Few Good Men’, ‘A Time to Kill’, ‘Dark City’, ‘Melancholia’ and most recently, a western called ‘Forsaken,’ as well as the TV series ‘24.’
But, unknown to many during the course of his career, he has worked in other areas with the same kind of dedication. His first deviation outside of acting was that of a cattle rancher and competitive cowboy. He ran a successful ranch with partner John English for almost a decade. During that time, Sutherland won numerous roping events around the USA. In 2002 he, along with his music partner and best friend Jude Cole, began a small record label called Ironworks. The goal of this label was to record local musicians and distribute their music at a time when the music industry was going through major change. Having played guitar as a child, and through his friendship with Jude Cole, who he considers to be a true multi instrumentalist, Sutherland rekindled the love he had for playing and writing at this time, penning a number of songs that turned into his debut album ‘ Down In A Hole,’ his latest release ‘Reckless & Me’ is the follow up to that recording, and boy, does it pack a punch.
Born to Canadian parents in London, England, who were both successful in the movie industry, he moved to Toronto with his mother when they divorced. The apple did not fall far from the tree as he went on to star in major movie roles over the years. I had first thought when reading the press kit for ‘Reckless & Me’ that some of the subject matter might have been alien to him, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Take the rock infused ‘Something You Love’ co-written with Jude Cole, it pays tribute to the ‘average person’ who works hard just to keep their heads above water, it’s about being let down in business and struggling to survive, things he’s seen his friends go through and experiences he’s had himself, I’m beginning to realize.‘ Reckless & Me ‘ is about Sutherland, his life, losing friends, being heartbroken in romance and getting back up again, there is indeed a real authenticity about the whole body of work, the gritty voice, the passion and the honesty of the lyrics.
‘This Is How It’s Done’, inspired by a flashback he had in a bar, taking him back to his youth, visualizing his first experience of seeing two adults brawling, being scared, and remembering it did not deter him from going back, a real life experience he wanted to capture in song.
One more track that highlights his songwriting skills is the tribute to his daughter. ‘Song For a Daughter’ the writing of it brought Sutherland to tears as he thought of how much she meant to him, it’s a song that he wanted her to remember him by long after he’s gone, pretty powerful stuff.
The musicians on this recording are outstanding, guitarist Waddy Wachtel (Stevie Nicks), drummer Brian MacLeod (Sheryl Crow) and the legendary pianist Jim Cox. Recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, Sutherland was inspired by the location’s rich history.
While country music is at the heart of ‘Reckless & Me’, it’s songs span a wider sphere, encompassing folk, rock, blues and some honky tonk thrown in for good measure, it all works superbly well, and all the songs are connected by Sutherland’s love of sharing stories, whether by recounting snapshots of his own life or relating the experiences of others.
Having played hundreds of gigs in support of his critically acclaimed debut album in 2016, ‘Reckless & Me’ is a stunning release that cements his place as a tour de force on the international music scene, in February he embarks on a European tour and I’m hoping he comes back to Toronto very soon, as I’ll be first in the queue to buy a ticket for that show.