Kiefer Sutherland kept his personal life under wraps. But when he stepped forward as a country singer, all of that had to change.
It wasn’t an easy endeavor for the well-known actor.
“I spent 35 years being very private about my life and what I do in my own time,” says Sutherland, who owns a record label, Ironworks, with his best friend and musical partner Jude Cole.
“It was really rough at the very beginning of my touring life. I would just introduce the song.”
But something almost magical happened: Sutherland and his fans accepted and warmed up to each other.
“I have to tell you, the generosity I’ve experienced from audiences around the world has been so vast,” he says. “It allowed me to lead into that. It was a cathartic experience for me and an incredibly important and special one.
“We’re all trying to do our best going through life. To share that honesty with an audience was something very special to me.”
Recently, Sutherland released “Reckless & Me: Special Edition,” a deluxe edition of his 10-song sophomore effort that features a bonus disc with a full concert from Berlin. The live disc captures Sutherland and his band’s energetic performance.
They will make their Phoenix debut Wednesday, December 11, at the Crescent Ballroom.
“This is my first show ever in Phoenix,” he says. “I can’t quite understand why. I’m very excited to be concentrating on the Southwest for this tour, in many cases to an audience I’ve never played to before.”
Sutherland is a strong believer in his music. For “Reckless and Me,” he worked with a variety of co-songwriters including Cole, Jason Wade of Lifehouse and Sammy Hagar. He sees a tie between acting and singing—they’re both forms of storytelling.
Fans who haven’t seen Sutherland live don’t quite understand his mediums.
“If I meet someone on the street, I spend 5 minutes trying to explain to them that I’m not Jack Bauer—even on the best day of my life,” he says about his “24” character.
“I’m playing songs that are very personal and from my life.”
Sutherland solely penned “Song for A Daughter,” after coming across a photo of her after a long stint on the road.
“The story is what interests me in acting,” he says. “If I can get a great visual from the first three pages of a script in my head, I read it with a passion I might not read in another.
“‘Song for a Daughter’ I wrote after I had been on the road for three years. I couldn’t remember where I put the cutlery in the kitchen. I opened the wrong drawer and found a picture of my daughter when she was 6 months old. She’s 33 now. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. I was moved by that.”
Sometimes sharing songs with the subject is awkward—like when he wrote a song for his mother.
“My mom had a terrible stroke,” Sutherland says. “When I got on the plane, I was told she wasn’t going to make it. I wrote this song on the plane and she ended up making it. I played her this song I wrote about her passing away when she hadn’t. That was a little strange.
“Again, it’s an opportunity to tell someone in the audience, ‘You’re not alone,’ which is really helpful. I found for me, at least, it’s quite helpful to say I’ve gone through this really hard thing.”
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Avenue, Phoenix, 602.716.2222, crescentphx.com, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 11, $38-$43.