Kiefer Sutherland Brings Country Music To Amagansett

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Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press
Jen Newman   May 30, 2017 11:54 AM
May 30, 2017 12:49 PM

Actor Kiefer Sutherland walked on stage at the Stephen Talkhouse bar in Amagansett with a glass of what appeared to be whiskey in his hand, ready to sing for his appropriately named tour, Not Enough Whiskey.

It was the Friday before Memorial Day, and Mr. Sutherland, best known for his acting career in movies like “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys” and the television series “24,” wore a black cowboy hat reminiscent of Johnny Cash, looking more like a country singer and songwriter than the actor fans are used to seeing.

“Happy Memorial Day,” Mr. Sutherland said, raising his glass in the air. “We’re gonna get drunk tonight!”

A crowd of roughly 70 people in the bar burst into cheers, as Mr. Sutherland and his band kicked off a 16-song setlist with his country tune “Can’t Stay Away.”

It’s part of Mr. Sutherland’s debut 11-track album, “Down in a Hole,” which he described in a press release as the closest thing he has ever had to a journal or diary.

“The experience of writing the record was cathartic,” Mr. Sutherland said at the East End concert.

Mr. Sutherland performed guitar and vocals alongside band members Michael Gurley on vocals and guitar, Jess Calcaterra on drums, Austin Valleijo on vocals and guitar and Joseph DeLeo on bass guitar. Along with his black cowboy hat, the “Designated Survivor” star donned a blue button-down shirt with a gray vest, skinny jeans and cowboy shoes.

One audience member stood excitedly at the front by the stage, scrolling through pictures of herself and Mr. Sutherland on her phone after his opening act, Georgian country singer Rick Brantley. Ontario, Canada, resident Susan Sinker traveled to New York specifically to see Mr. Sutherland’s show—three times in one week. She said she connected to the music of Mr. Sutherland, a native Canadian himself, and said she felt his music was refreshing and he gave out great “energy.”

“Every night I dance to it,” she said, smiling. “It’s my exercise.”

In between songs, Mr. Sutherland said most of his music comes from his experiences—a concept he said was inspired by Johnny Cash, who wrote about his own life to get through the good times and bad.

However, one of Mr. Sutherland’s songs, “Shirley Jean,” is not about himself. It’s a story about a man on death row writing a goodbye letter to the only girl he ever loved. That was also inspired by Mr. Cash, Mr. Sutherland said, since he also wrote “prison songs,” that gave the inmates some dignity and humanity.

“I’ve never been to prison,” Mr. Sutherland said at the concert. “I’ve been to jail a few times and I can promise you the first thing they take away is your dignity.”

Mr. Sutherland will now take his tour abroad to Europe for the summer before returning for season two of “Designated Survivor” this fall on ABC.

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