Album Review: Kiefer Sutherland’s ‘Down In A Hole’

The debut Country album from Kiefer Sutherland might strike several of you by surprise. Many times, when an actor from movies and / or television records an album, they tend to overcompensate for their supposed lack of “Country” roots, and the results can often across sounding hokey.

Down In A Hole is not one of those albums.

First of all, Sutherland has been doing this for a while. Music isn’t just something that he discovered over the past few weeks or days. It’s also not an attempt to pay the bills (Come on, 24 has been one of the most successful TV / Movie franchises in recent years, so money is not an issue here).

These songs – none of them, as a matter of fact, are far from sweet little fun three minute ditties that were penned to entertain the masses. You get the idea that these lyrics have been lived in. This is not a pretty record, by any stretch. Sutherland laid his soul on the line – for all of us to hear.

Photo courtesy Total Assault

Photo courtesy Total Assault

Whether it be the opening “Can’t Stay Away,” (which scores, in part to some incredible and soulful harmonies) or the moody, Springsteen-ish sounds of “I’ll Do Anything,” this definitely rings true as one of the most honest records you’re going to hear this year. He also oozes with gritty realism on the powerful “Down In A Hole” and “All She Wrote.”

But, for me as a listener, the thing that makes this album the most affecting is his touch as a songwriter. “Calling Out Your Name” drips with pain, while he flips the emotional coin a bit on “My Best Friend,” which effectively represents a man at peace with his life and decisions. “Shirley Jean” perhaps is the most tear-jerking song on the album, given the bittersweet vibe of the fact that the lead character is going to be facing his own end soon, and, quite possibly, the lyrical masterpiece of the album is the jaw-dropping “Truth In Your Eyes,” in which the lyrics about taking someone for granted who was so much a part of your life ring very true.

Sutherland isn’t by any definition a smooth balladeer who sings on this album about everlasting love, and holding someone under the stars in the skies. Quite honestly, one gets the feeling that he’s lost many of the people he has held those moments with en route to where he is now – which is what makes this album a keeper. It’s not flashy. It’s honest. The way that pure music is supposed to be!