Artists: Kiefer Sutherland, Max Gomez
Venue: The Troubadour
Date: December 18, 2019
Back when I lived in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, one of my favorite things to do was to find a night that I had free and buy tickets for whomever was playing at the local music venue, SPACE. It didn’t matter to me if I knew who they were, or if I’d ever heard any of their music before – it was usually a reasonably inexpensive night of wonderful music, and it introduced me to so many new artists.
It wasn’t only relative unknowns who played there, however. It was that venue where I learned that actor Jeff Daniels was also a talented musician – and that actor/voiceover artist Harry Shearer did a yearly holiday show with his wife that was full of fun music, tons of laughs and holiday giveaways (the cheap Santa door hanger I received is still dangling in front of my house today). That venue is one of the things I miss about living in the Chicago area, but I’ve thankfully learned of an equally magical venue in Los Angeles, The Troubadour. A few months ago I got an email from The Troubadour telling me that tickets were going on sale for Kiefer Sutherland. I was unaware that Kiefer Sutherland even dabbled in music, yet alone had multiple albums released. Out of sheer curiosity, and with a sense of musical adventure, I purchased tickets. Leading up to the show I didn’t let myself listen to any of his music online, because I wanted to go in and see what this renown actor would deliver to me from the musical side of his talents.
The opener for the show was Max Gomez, a singer-songwriter from New Mexico, whose sweet guitar melodies were a lovely, mellow way to start the show. All of his songs were really good, but the stand-out song to me was “Rule The World,” off of his first album by the same name. If you are looking for a nice escape from the tensions of the day, his music would make the perfect accompaniment, and you should check out his catalog on Spotify or elsewhere.
After the chill sounds of Max Gomez, Kiefer Sutherland came out with a bang – adorned in a classic western shirt, white neck scarf, studded guitar strap, and cowboy hat – he owned the stage.
While country music is not my first choice in listening, it does hold a special place in my heart due to my family history. Watching last night’s show took me down memory lane. A big piece of my family heritage comes from Arkansas, and I was raised watching Hee Haw and going square dancing with my grandma and her boyfriend (who were known as “Wild Bill and Diamond ‘Lil by their friends and dancing partners). Kiefer’s wardrobe at his show was on par with what they used to wear to their dancing functions, and his music is the same style as many of their favorite artists from back in the day that I listened to while growing up. Music is often something that can transport us into our past and bring back fond memories. I’d like to thank Kiefer for the joyous trip down memory lane that his music gave me.
Sutherland‘s influences definitely come from a more classic country route, as he touted artists such as Johnny Cash and The Wailin’ Jennys as being a couple of his influences. The entire time he performed I could see the joy and passion for his art that flowed out of him. A big part of enjoying a musician’s live performance is knowing that they are enjoying the experience and wearing their heart on their sleeve, and he truly did. More than once during the show he expressed to the audience how grateful he was to be able to play the Troubadour and how thrilled he was for everyone that showed up to watch him (the show was sold out).
Whether country/western music is your jam or not, there is no denying that Kiefer Sutherland is an excellent song writer. Whether influenced by whiskey, jail, his mother on her deathbed, or watching Bridget Jone’s Diary, all of his songs come from his heart and life experiences. On top of being an excellent stage presence while he performs, he does a great job of bridging the 4th wall between artist and audience by sharing the stories connected to the songs he was playing. His deep, raspy, voice lends a rugged connection to his melodies and he delivers an excellent overall performance with the help of his band.
If you enjoy watching truly passionate people share their craft, and love every minute of it (whether it’s your top genre or not), I recommend watching Kiefer Sutherland perform live if you have the chance. He lights up the stage in a way that draws your eye, gets your toes tapping and your hands clapping. If you want to check out his music on Spotify, take a listen below. His new album just dropped this year: