April 23, 2019 Kiefer Sutherland – Reckless & Me (Album Review)
Some men are a household name for their hugely successful day jobs, but their passion is also shared elsewhere. Simply put: you absolutely must know Kiefer Sutherland, the actor, but do you know Sutherland the musician? Well, his sophomore release, Reckless & Me, arrives April 26, 2019, via BMG.
Kiefer Sutherland got his start in acting at the age of 17, with 1983’s Max Dugan Returns. What would follow is a truly prolific, three decade-long, award-winning career in Hollywood for the talented actor who has portrayed a diverse array of roles in films like 1987’s The Lost Boys, as well as in series such as 24. Furthermore, Sutherland is a man of many hats and many passions: a director and producer, hockey player, rodeo rider, owner of both a record label and recording studio, and a former tour manager.
Which leads us to the fact that Sutherland is a truly passionate music lover and an accomplished musician who released his debut album, Down In A Hole, in 2016. Living and breathing music, Sutherland uses his soulful storytelling skills to weave Americana and Country-infused sonic tales that bring to life the personal, the candid, and the best of good times. What began on his debut continues on his 10-song sophomore release, Reckless & Me, an equally whiskey-soaked foray into tales of women, alcohol, and the long, winding road of life.
Produced by Jude Cole (Lifehouse, ONE OK ROCK), Reckless & Me opens to the dulcet tones and gentle acoustics of “Open Road.” An aptly-titled tale of traveling the road that serves as a metaphor for the struggles in relationships, here Sutherland explores the ups and downs of being a road warrior — from lost relationships to homesickness, to motel fires. Next, the upbeat bop of “Something You Love” explores the human element of socioeconomic troubles and struggling to make a living doing what makes you happy. Thisall sounds very weighty, but here it’s presented in an infectiously joyful celebration of living life — even if there are bills to pay.
Watching a beautiful woman sleep in his old t-shirt, Sutherland pays her a respectful adoration in “Faded Pair of Blue Jeans.” Another metaphorical glance, this one compares a comfortable relationship to those perfectly distressed, beloved old jeans that hug all the right curves. Meanwhile, for the titular “Reckless & Me,” the guitars go deep, gritty, and sultry as Sutherland tells the semi-autobiographical tale of a rodeo star traveling the circuit.
The funky fun beat of “Blame It on Your Heart” should sound familiar: it’s a cover of the 1993 Patty Loveless classic, one that fits perfectly into this collection. Then the band picks up the beat to a skipping good time on “This Is How It’s Done,” a stomping homage to honky-tonks, jukeboxes, and pretty girls.
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor! “Agave” goes for a gritty, dirty little hip-sway in the name of a lovely señorita who is the agave to Sutherland’s tequila. This is followed by the jam of “Run to Him,” which sets a lover free to some truly infectious instrumentation from the band along with Sutherland’s gravel-dusted yet soothing vocal. Perhaps it should be a melancholy lament, but instead it’s a fairly upbeat jam that ends to the ivories a-twinkling.
The moving “Saskatchewan” opens to delicate atmospherics and those sincerely intimate vocals before building into the full band as it weaves a bittersweet lament. Continuing to show affection for those closest to his heart, he ends with the aptly-titled “Song for a Daughter.” The track sees him singing alongside acoustics, dedicating a poignant track to his little girl. Warning her not to let the dark into her dreams, to embrace all of life’s goodness, this is a superbly sweet track sung with love from father to daughter that ends a magnificently-authored, truly sincere collection.
It’s no surprise that an accomplished actor can so flawlessly embrace the craft of sonic storytelling. There’s an authenticity to Sutherland’s painted stories, one that comes much in thanks to his whiskey-soaked, gravel-dusted vocals and candid tone. Because of this, Reckless & Me often feels like an intimate moment shared with the multi-talented artist; sipping on a glass of perfectly-aged liquor as Sutherland offers his hard-earned confessions to the room.
Sutherland is perfectly imperfect but with mountains of heart, and that’s what makes his collection so very enjoyable. There’s nothing pretentious or presumptive here: just a man with a passion for music and an entertaining story. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock are elated to say that Kiefer Sutherland’s Reckless & Me receives 5 out of 5 stars. Can someone get Sutherland and John Mellencamp on tour together? Please and thank you.