Kiefer Sutherland singing a different tune

Kiefer Sutherland knows what you’re thinking.

The actor, best known for roles in TV’s “24” and movies such as “Flatliners,” “A Few Good Men,” “Stand By Me” and “The Lost Boys,” is embarking on a country music career.

His debut album “Down in a Hole” is set to be released this summer and he and his band will be in concert at Wilmington’s World Cafe Live at The Queen on May 11.

Kiefer Sutherland will show his musical side in concert at Wilmington’s World Cafe Live at The Queen May 11 at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo/Beth Elliot)

Kiefer Sutherland will show his musical side in concert at Wilmington’s World Cafe Live at The Queen May 11 at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo/Beth Elliot)

“I am completely aware of the stigma attached to an actor doing music. And where I got to was I really liked my songs. And I know they aren’t going to be for everybody. And I’m fine with that. What I really love doing is playing small clubs,” he said last week during a conference call.

“I’ve always likened our show to that of a NASCAR race. I think people are coming out to see a crash. And it’s our job to show them a really good race. And so far, it’s been going really well. We’ll see what happens.”

Mr. Sutherland is in the midst of a 50-plus city tour that started April 14.

“It’s been amazing but I have to say it’s been an education,” he said of life as a barnstorming musician.

“When you do a film or you do a play, you’re in the same town and you have parameters. And I’ve worked with those parameters for almost 30 years. So, I know what time I have to go to bed. I know what I can do on six hours of sleep. I never had to worry about my voice going out. I never had to worry about air conditioning before. And the rougher my voice sounded, certainly within the context of ‘24,’ the better.”

The 49-year-old British-born Canadian says the road that has led to his music career is not as circuitous as one might think.

“I’ve always had a connection with music. It goes back to being a little kid. My older brother was someone I idolized. He played sports and was a huge music fan,” he said.

“At an early age I was exposed to The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash. I think I was the only third-grader who was into Aerosmith.”

He was playing violin at the age of 4 and guitar by the age of 10.

“I’ve been writing songs for a long time. I didn’t take it seriously up until the last 10 years or so. I started a cover band four or five years ago doing 14 or 15 covers with a couple of other songs around the Long Beach, Orange County (California) area,” he said.

In 2002, Mr. Sutherland, with his music partner and best friend Jude Cole, began a small record label called Ironworks with the goal of recording up-and-coming musicians, never thinking that one day he himself would become one of them.

“I had no intention to make an album. I had written a few songs that I really liked and I took them to Jude to record them in the hopes of sending them to BMI or Sony Music for other artists to record,” he said.

“He really liked them a lot and he said he thought I should keep them, and he thought I should give him the rest of the songs that I had and potentially make an album. I remember laughing and going ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous.’Best Bets logo CLEAR copy

“But after a couple of drinks, the better an idea it became. We did two more songs and I started to like the way they sounded. And I started to like the way they flowed together.”

The first single off of the album, “Not Enough Whiskey,” was recently released.

Mr. Sutherland’s songwriting influences include some of the country greats.

“I really responded to Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard. They wrote about a darker side of life,” he said.

“There are also the women like Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, the list goes on and on. They have a nurturing quality that I find very relaxing. The male singers are almost the opposite. The males always feel like they are challenging you to a fight while the females are just so nurturing to me.”

Whether you just know Mr. Sutherland as Jack Bauer from “24” or from his many movie roles, he hopes audiences will give his newest role of being himself a try.

“It’s a huge ask to ask an audience to listen to 12 songs they have never heard before. But I try to explain why I wrote the song, where I was and what was happening in my life at the time,” he said.

“My hope is that when I play these shows, people start to realize that my life is not that much different than theirs. Yes, I’ve had some extraordinarily positive things happen to me that a lot of people would love the opportunity to do. But the human experience is very common between myself and the audience and it’s nice to express that and hopefully interesting for people to hear about.”

Tickets for his band’s 8 p.m. show, which will be opened by singer-songwriter Austin Plaine, are $22 in advance and $25 at the door and can be purchased at queentickets.worldcafelive.com, by calling (302) 994-1400, or visiting the theater’s box office at 500 N. Market St., Wilmington.

Dover Days doings

The excitement for next weekend’s Dover Days Festival is building with kickoff activities starting Saturday.

This year’s festival theme is preservation and is tied to the commemoration of 50 years of The National Historic Preservation Act. The purpose of Preservation 50 is to commemorate, on a national, state and local level, the importance of historic preservation, to learn more about the first 50 years of historic preservation and to engage the public in a dialogue about the value and importance of historic preservation in our nation’s future.

Kent County Tourism, the sponsor of Dover Days, will host a Preservation50 workshop Saturday at the Smyrna Opera House, 7 W. South St.

Starting with the 8 a.m. registration, the all-day workshop will feature a variety of experts in the field of historic preservation to help those that live in or work with historic structures to learn about proper restoration techniques.

Attendees will also find out about the resources that are available to those with historic properties, including the Historic Tax Credit Program and the National Register of Historic Places.

Not an academic conference, this workshop is intended to be a practical resource for those living with the realities of historic preservation. After the workshop has concluded, attendees will be invited to a reception at one of the successful historic preservation stories in Smyrna.

You can register to attend the workshop by visiting www.visitdover.com. The cost is $20.

A 32-page full-color guide to Dover Days can be found in Sunday’s Delaware State News.

On Monday afternoon, WBOC-TV’s “DelmarvaLife” program will spotlight Dover Days with officials from Kent County Tourism and the First State Heritage Park.

Yours truly, the defending Dover Days Peach Pie Eating champion, will also be on the show, competing in a contest similar to the annual one that will be held this year at 3 p.m. May 7 on Legislative Mall.

“DelmarvaLife” airs at 5 p.m.

Symphony on ‘Broadway’

As part of the Dover Days celebration, the Dover Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Donald Buxton, will conclude its 2015-2016 season at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Dover Downs Rollins Center.

“Broadway Hits” features music from a number of popular Broadway musicals.

The orchestra will perform medleys from “Wicked,” “Chicago,” “Les Misérables,” “The Lion King,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The King and I,” as well as several others.

Valet parking will be offered for $5. Additionally, there will be free shuttle service throughout the parking lots. Sweet treats will continue to be offered at a bake sale.

Admission prices are adults $20, seniors/students/military $15. Young people younger than 18 are admitted free with a paying adult.

For ticket sales, log on to www.doversymphony.org or call (302) 270-1903. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

DSU Concert Choir tonight

The Delaware State University Concert Choir will present its spring concert at 7 tonight.

The choir will perform repertoire from its spring tour, which will include hymn arrangements, sacred choral anthems and Negro spirituals.

It will be held in the Education and Humanities Theatre. The concert is free.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the all-star comedy “Mother’s Day” with Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson; the Key and Peele comedy “Keanu” and the animated adventure “Ratchet and Clank 3D.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the Jennifer Lawrence comedy-drama “Joy,” the science-fiction flick “The 5th Wave” and the romance film “The Choice.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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