Earlier this year when Kiefer Sutherland announced he was working on releasing a country album, the question arose as to what the result would be. Then he released a lead single called “Not Enough Whiskey” and it was surprisingly strong. Granted it was difficult to imagine this as anything other than Jack Bauer singing, but once you looked past that, it was definitely 100 times better than most of what populates mainstream country radio.
And in truth, it’s actually pretty damn good. Is there anything groundbreaking about it? Probably not, but it’s got strong songwriting, great instrumentation, strong production by Jude Cole, and Sutherland has a really cool gravelly voice that sooner or later you forget he’s an actor and are able to listen to him for the talented vocalist he is.
Sutherland co-wrote all eleven tracks on the album with producer Jude Cole, with Jason Wade contributing to the writing on “Going Home.”
Pedal Steel Guitar is prominently used on the album and there’s even some Lap Steel Guitar used in there.
Is the album Traditional Country music? It would probably be more aptly categorized as Country Rock. But it’s what Country Rock should be. “Shirley Jean” is the most traditionally country song on the album with a true waltz beat and Pedal Steel ringing proud. It’s one of the highlight tracks of the album about a man writing a last letter from prison to a woman he loved.
“Not Enough Whiskey,” the album’s first single still remains a standout track in the collection. “Calling Out Your Name” is another highlight of the album with laid back production.
“Gonna Die” with its production and vocal delivery actually made me think of Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt.” It was a strong way to close out an impressive album.
Will this be considered a game-changer in country music? Unlikely, but it’s definitely a worthwhile album that I highly recommend taking the time to listen to. It feels like a passion project from Sutherland; it’s more than just a collection of songs and there’s no attempt to chase trends. And whether you like the album or not, there’s no denying that Sutherland made the album he wanted to make: music for the love of music, not for the love of money. Kiefer Sutherland just showed most mainstream country acts how it should be done.