For more than three decades, we’ve seen Kiefer Sutherland in numerous TV shows, films, and plays. He’s portrayed a wide-range of roles, including the leader of a teenage vampire gang (The Lost Boys), a quick-drawing gunslinger (Young Guns), and the death-defying special agent Jack Bauer (24).
Now, the multi-talented artist has added rocker to the mix. Last year, he released his debut album, Down in a Hole, at the age of 49, and he’s performed more than a 100 shows, and made appearances at festivals, like Stagecoach.
Eleven tracks of Americana and country, Down in a Hole was co-written by Sutherland and shows him playing guitar in the tradition of classic country troubadours — but with a modern edge. Songs like “Not Enough Whiskey,” “Can’t Stay Away,” and the title track showcase his songwriting prowess, which he honed over a lifetime of playing music privately for himself.
“I’m acutely aware of the stigma of an actor doing music, and for a long time it was something I had told myself I was never going to do,” Sutherland says. “But then there was a point where there were songs I really, really liked that I had written. I also had gotten to a point in my life where I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of being able to play the songs live.”
But Sutherland has learned that acting on stage or in front of a camera is different than performing music for a crowd.
“The easiest way I can put it is there’s a level of decorum that is expected by an audience in a play,” Sutherland says. “You’re expected to keep them in their seats until the end of the performance. It’s the opposite for music. You want to get them out of their seats and moving.”
Sutherland feels he has been able to connect with fans in deeper ways through his music, which include personal anecdotes about friends that have died and past lovers.
“I think more than any art form, [music] can transfer me back to a specific time in my life faster than anything,” Sutherland says.
Kiefer Sutherland plays at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 4 at the Great American Music Hall.