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Kiefer Sutherland - 'Reckless & Me (Special Edition)' Album Review


1. Open Road 2. Something You Love 3. Faded Pair Of Blue Jeans 4. Reckless & Me 5. Blame It On Your Heart 6. This Is How It’s Done 7. Agave 8. Run To Him 9. Saskatchewan 10. Song For A Daughter

Bonus Disc: 1. Can't Stay Away [Live In Berlin] 2. Something You Love [Live In Berlin] 3. Reckless & Me [Live In Berlin] 4. Faded Pair Of Blue Jeans [Live In Berlin] 5. Open Road [Live In Berlin] 6. Blame It On Your Heart [Live In Berlin] 7. Saskatchewan [Live In Berlin] 8. Not Enough Whiskey [Live In Berlin] 9. This Is How It's Done [Live In Berlin] 10. Honey Bee [Live In Berlin]- Tom Petty Cover 11. Down In A Hole [Live In Berlin] 12. Agave [Live In Berlin] 13. Rebel Wind [Live In Berlin]

Way back in the eighties I remember seeing a grimy, emaciated punk vampire onscreen, all stubble and spiked bleach blonde hair, a figure that really stuck with me. A good few years later the vampire seemed to have gotten his life back on track and seemed intent on constantly saving the world from terrorist attacks amid the grey shades that had started colouring the world. Fast forward again and I'm sitting on a bus, heading to work on a grim, grey Tuesday morning listening to our once action hero open his heart through songs that he's written.

Kiefer Sutherland, for it is he, released his second album "Reckless and Me" earlier this year and managed to play some UK and European dates, including a Sunday night headline slot at Gateshead's Americana festival that I managed to see. Further dates have been lined up so a timely "Special Edition" re-release has been put out there for people who either missed the album the first time around or just need that little bit more Kiefer in their lives.

The release is split into two halves. On the first you have the original ten tracks that made up the "Reckless and Me" album in full. The second half draws from the Berlin date from the previous leg of his tour (only 'Not Enough Whisky' from that night's set omitted).

So let's start with the studio album itself. Kiefer's take on Americana pulls from its source as well as adding Blues and a touch of Bruce Springsteen as flavour, which results in an album that stands up well to repeated listens thanks in part to his passion for his music. It's clear to Sutherland that this is no vanity project, it's not a release to placate his ego. In fact, if anything, he comes across as warm and honest with his songs.

Warm is a good way to describe his voice too. It has a certain rasp to it that makes it recognisable as Kiefer and really suggests that he's lived some of the songs that he's living about. The title track is a yearning for his time working a rodeo a few years ago (I was surprised to find that out too) and there's a good few songs that revolve around drinking. Some of the lyrics might border on cliche at times but he performs them with enough passion to be forgiven. I mean, let's face it, that's not one writer who isn't guilty of that at times so I'm happy to give him a pass for it.

The main attraction (and reason for the release) is the addition of a live disc recorded in Berlin earlier this year. Here Sutherland is backed by a four piece band of good quality players with the frontman adding extra acoustic and electric guitar where needed. Again, his voice cuts through nicely and you really get the idea that he's enjoying himself up onstage. He's a natural storyteller to and eases himself comfortably into the stage's spotlight. The only downside of the live recording is that you can't see the huge grin that's plastered across his face when onstage.

Kiefer Sutherland seems happy and comfortable with what he’s doing here. He’s not trying to set himself up as the next Bob Dylan or anything like that. He’s a man that’s set out to enjoy himself and entertain others along the way, nothing more than that, which is noble. He’s not trying to get a massive PR company to make him out to be something more than what he actually is. The strength of his songs and his performances show that this is not a vanity act for him. He believes in himself and knows that he has a unique story to tell. Let’s hope that people give him an opportunity rather than just trying to judge him from his acting career.

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Review - Scott Hamilton

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