The Bacon Brothers

The Kent Stage presents

The Bacon Brothers

Derik Hultquist

Fri, August 12, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$40.50 - $125.00 (VIP tickets include a meet and greet)

This event is all ages

The Bacon Brothers
The Bacon Brothers
The Bacon Brothers
Long before Kevin Bacon launched his prolific stage and screen career, and before Michael Bacon became known as a go-to composer for film and television, they were just two brothers, born nine years apart, coming of age in Center City Philadelphia.
By the late 1960s, Michael, already a professional musician, would gig with his band at the city’s famed Electric Factory with a young Kevin tagging along when he could. It’s a time preserved in the cover art for The Bacon Brothers’ latest, New Year’s Day, with a preteen Kevin singing alongside a mandolin-strumming Michael. The record, laden with the brothers’ trademark gritty rock and a touch of Philly soul, hearkens back to those roots in the City of Brotherly Love, when life was less complicated and music filled the air.
“My earliest memory of music was what my brother was playing or the music he brought home,” Kevin Bacon recalls. “I would sit on the steps of our basement while he was downstairs practicing with our sister, Hilda, and their band. So my heroes growing up were all rock ’n’ rollers. I wasn’t really into sports, or even movies. If I could save money I’d buy an album.”
With 2009 marking 14 years of the Bacon Brothers band’s existence, any cynical preconceptions about well-known actors “dabbling” in music now can safely be discarded. The band has gigged relentlessly to build up a following, and New Year’s Day represents their sixth LP release. Along the way, the younger brother has apparently caught up with his elder sibling in some ways.
“Kevin writes a lot more songs than I do,” Michael says. “While I spend a lot of time writing instrumental music, lyrical songs are tougher: if I write one or two a year that I like, then I’m happy. But Kevin has this amazing gift of turning everyday experiences into universal thoughts that everybody can identify with.”
The album kicks off with “New Year’s Day,” a song that, while it draws upon Kevin’s experiences, isn’t necessarily about him. “‘New Years Day’ is from the perspective of a kid, 18 or 19, who’s left Philadelphia for Los Angeles to pursue his dream of stardom, but is pining to get back to Philly for the Mummers Parade,” says Kevin, who has attended Philadelphia’s elaborate New Year’s celebration many times.
“L.A. is the land of the endless summer, and everything is so beautiful. But there’s something still inherent in me that’s left over from Philadelphia, which is cold and provincial, but in a great way.”
“There have been a lot of times in my life that I’ve thought about our hometown and going back there and not going after these outrageous kinds of goals,” Michael adds.
“Maybe it’s not personal to Kevin, but I still relate very heavily to that song.”
The infectious second track, “Go My Way” with its laid-back, shuffling soulful groove, is also written from a character’s perspective. “It’s a guy who’s younger than me,single and living alone in New York, not doing very well and struggling with his life,” Kevin observes. “Then this one woman keeps popping up in his life and elevates his sorry existence for a time.”
Having played with the same crew of musicians for all of the band’s existence, Michael and Kevin agree that the band has become just as much a part of the whole endeavor as the two frontmen. “With New Year’s Day, the guys in the band produced a couple of tracks each,” Michael points out. “We gave the band much more creative responsibility for the product we ended up with. I think that’s why it sounds more like a band album.”
While still encountering critics due to Kevin’s onscreen notoriety, the band continues to win believers—show by show, album by album. As The New Yorker recently observed: “Hollywood hangs like an albatross around the neck of any movie star turned musician, but this duo shakes off the burden of fame with sharply executed rock that has a blue-collar, rootsy edge.”
“I like risks,” notes Kevin, a classic understatement from an artist who’s played challenging, unsympathetic roles in everything from The Woodsman to Sleepers to Oliver
Stone’s JFK. “And there’s nothing more risky about being a well known actor and playing in a rock band.”
But there’s the interesting thing about risks—sometimes they pay off. And for The Bacon Brothers, they certainly have.

New Year’s Day (2008)
White Knuckles (2005)
Live: No Food Jokes Tour (2003)
Can’t Complain (2001)
Getting There (1999)
Forosoco (1997)

Michael Bacon
Michael Bacon's recent projects include the theme for “Bill Moyer’s Journal”, “African American Lives (1 and 2)” and “Oprah’s Roots” by Kuhnhart Productions, “The Jewish
Americans” “ Marie Antoinette”, by David Grubin, “Berga: Soldiers of Another War”, by Charles Guggenheim, the features “Loverboy” and “Red Betsy”, (with Sheldon
Mirowitz), “King Gimp” the Academy Award Winner in the Short Documentary category, “RFK” and "Secret Life of the Brain", by David Grubin, (Emmy winner) the critically acclaimed five hour documentary on PBS.
Michael won an Emmy for his score for "The Kennedy's", an Ace Award nomination for his score "The Man Who Loved Sharks", The BMI Television Music Award and The Chicago International Film Festival Gold Plaque Award for music in "LBJ". Shows he has scored have won numerous Emmy Awards and three Academy Awards ("The Johnstown Flood", "A Time For Justice”, and King Gimp).

Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon’s film credits include Oliver Stone's "JFK”, “Trapped,” John Hughes' "She's Having a Baby,” “Criminal Law,” "The Big Picture," “Footloose,” "Tremors," “Balto,”
“Hollow Man”, David Koepp’s “Stir of Echoes,” the sleeper hit “My Dog Skip,” “Wild Things,” “Digging in China,” “Telling Lies in America,” “Picture Perfect,” “Stir of Echoes,” and Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men." He also starred in Barry Levinson’s “Sleepers” with Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro, the award-winning “Apollo 13” directed by Ron Howard, “Murder in the First” (voted Best Actor by The Broadcast Critics
Association and nominated for Best Supporting Actor by The Screen Actors Guild and the London Film Critics Circle), “The River Wild” (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe), “In the Cut,” Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River,” (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture) “Beauty Shop,” Atom Egoyan’s “Where the Truth Lies,” “The Air I Breathe,” “Death Sentence,” and “Rails and Ties.”
Kevin will next be seen in the political drama “Frost/Nixon,” directed by Ron Howard which is based on the award-winning play, and the HBO film, “Taking Chance.” He recently finished filming the short film, “New York, I Love You.
Derik Hultquist
Derik Hultquist
"I spend a lot of my time waiting," Derik Hultquist says. "Waiting on life, waiting on a word, waiting on women. Waiting on myself. There is something I want to access­­. I'm trying to find poetry, and the only way I know how to do it is to just be as honest and patient as possible." He pauses, then adds dryly, "And tell a couple of jokes."

Biding time and searching for answers often conjure up of images of sparseness––long, barren stretches in between key moments. But on his new album Southern Iron (Carnival Music), Hultquist offers rich portraits of reflection, anticipation, and stillness via lush rock-and-roll that suggest waiting isn't a mere segue: it's living.

Hultquist grew up just south of Knoxville in Alcoa, Tennessee, a small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. He taught himself to play guitar on his dad's old instrument––"It was just the worst guitar," Hultquist characteristically deadpans in his East Tennessee drawl. "When I first started playing, you could only make a couple of chords on it. So I had to just write my own songs from the get-go."

The remark is signature Hultquist: part self-deprecating wit, part sincere observation about the power of working with what you've got.

Hultquist attended Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he served as goalie for the men's soccer team. When he headed to Nashville after graduation almost a decade ago, the move was not spurred by a conscious decision to pursue music professionally. He wasn't interested in joining the storied ranks of staff writers who create hits for the city's mainstream country music machine, but he did want to develop the sounds and lyrics that had always busied his mind. "I've sung my whole life. I think I wrote my first song when I was in middle school," he says. "It just seemed like the natural thing to do."

So Hultquist took flexible jobs ranging from pharmacy tech to valet and focused on finding his voice. He has since released three EPs via Carnival Music and Recording Company, his longtime home. His most recent EP, 2014's well-received Mockingbird's Mouth, earned him widespread attention and opening slots for complementary heavy hitters including Sturgill Simpson. Produced by Frank Liddell and Eric Masse, Southern Iron is Hultquist's first full-length album, and a highly anticipated deeper, longer listen to an artist who, up until now, has primarily offered intriguing snapshots.

"I didn't find my singing voice until my early 20s," Hultquist says. "Before that, I would just sing like everybody, whoever I was trying to imitate." It's easy to imagine him playing the chameleon, channeling neo-soul singers and post-punk heroes before relaxing into himself. "Now my voice comes out of the songs I write. That's the best way I know to explain it," he says. "I just try to find the most earnest way I can to sing." Honesty sounds good on him: Hultquist's mellow tenor is easy but plush, forgoing flash in favor of subtlety. That's not to say he doesn't enjoy the occasional surprise attack, carried out via moody escalations and gravelly, provocative whispers.

Southern Iron flirts with psychedelic and roots rock without committing, carving out its own robust pop soundscape. Hultquist wrote all but one of the album's songs alone, and the result captures a songwriter wholly comfortable with his calling, more drawn to evocation than linear narrative. "I'm very interested in what a song can do," he says. "Often, I think a song hasn't achieved its full potential. I'm trying to find that balance between creating a song that's important and compelling to listen to."

First track "Darkside of Town" sets the bar high, illustrating just how good Hultquist is at balancing substance and a hook. The song combines crunchy guitar with a rumbling meditation on knowledge, faith, and acceptance. "A lot of what we do here on this planet of ours is just like groping through the dark," Hultquist says. "You're trying to figure it out and take the good with the bad. And there is not necessarily any balance––people often think there's got to be good and evil in equal parts. But it's just life. It doesn't need to mean anything. It is how it is, and that should be powerful enough."

The idea that life's power is derived from its existence instead of our interpretation of it fuels much of the album. While that's heady stuff, Hultquist proves that life for the sake of life is also a formula for a good time: rollicking "1983" and "Racing to a Red Light"––the second of which is the only co-written song on the album––dare listeners to try not to dance.

The gorgeous "Strangeness of the Vine" contemplates being single again––"being re-released into the wild," Hultquist jokes. He tackles love honestly, refusing to let anyone––including himself––off the hook. "They say no one ever does, that only fools fall down and get back up / so I made fools of both of us, cause I keep falling out of love," he sings sadly in "Falling Out of Love," while in "Back When I was Young," Hultquist goes toe-to-toe with the memories we'll never be able to shake.

"One Horse Town" explores the ways in which place defines and even limits us. Hultquist wrote the song with Nashville in mind. "I keep toughing it out," he says. "I've had some thin years, and maybe more to come. But I made up my mind that I was going to do this, and I do feel I have a place here."

Haunting album closer "American Highway" leaves listeners contemplating awareness and escape routes. "Stuck out on the American highway / with a capo on my vein / Now I think I'm only hiding, right here in the light of day," Hultquist sings, his voice echoed by a chorus of strings. "You can't really think out there, driving," he says. "The movement itself kind of pulls you into thinking you're being active. It's like a Cormac McCarthy novel. There is no end to forever––you just keep going and going." Hultquist reveals that on the road, lulled into numbness masquerading as action, it's easy to hide not just from others, but also from yourself.

In the end, Hultquist has plenty of questions. But while he is constantly reaching for the wisdom to know when to wait and when to act, he is far from lost. "I know a few things," he says. "I know that beautiful things are worth noticing. You've got to be kind, for the most part. And you never know what's going to happen."
Venue Information:
The Kent Stage
175 East Main
Kent, OH, 44240