California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Kiefer Sutherland, Singer-Songwriter, Makes Success Out of Heartbreak on his ‘Not Enough Whiskey’ Tour

Songs Tell The Story of This Second-Generation Actor

By DONNA BALANCIA

Kiefer Sutherland took guitar in hand and hit the Southern California stages last week, moving from Stagecoach to the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood to the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.  And it’s clear he’s a hit.

It’s the “Not Enough Whiskey Tour,” but it should be called the “Not Enough Kiefer Tour” instead.  The fans love this guy, whether the multi-talented actor-turned-musician is a bully, a vampire, or a country singer-songwriter. The tour continues throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Kiefer Sutherland at The Roxy - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Down In a Hole’

Kiefer is out promoting his new album, Down In a Hole, a solid collection of tunes that all ages can relate to as they take some new turns on well-traveled country roads.

Kiefer’s music is smooth and rough at the same time, just like the song “Not Enough Whiskey” after which he named the tour he’s taking around North America and abroad. And maybe it’s reflective of his life as an actor, always summoning emotions for the character you portray and not having a chance to delve into your own. Well he’s delving now.

Kiefer’s songwriting is the strongest part of this act. In cases like this, we generally hold actors to a different standard than musicians, but if a performance draws the crowd and makes the ticket-holders happy, we’re in favor of it.  He’s vulnerable and real and the crowd loves it.

Kiefer and his band are on a worldwide tour – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Warm Stage Presence

Kiefer is no Johnny Cash or Elton John, two of his admitted favorites musicians, mainly because his voice needs a little work, but he’s on to something here with his songwriting and warm stage presence.  The fans seem overwhelmed by him and his music, and they sing along with every word as he plays.  Not only that, it appears the people come from near and far to see him, as at The Roxy there were Kiefer fans who came from as far away as inland California.

“My mom came with us tonight because she loves him too,” said Jared Scoville from Temecula. “My mom doesn’t go out too much because she’s older and she can’t walk that well, but we got in the truck and came here because she loves Kiefer’s music.”

From Vampires to Bad Boys and Beyond

Kiefer, who’s played everything from bad boy vampire to Jack Bauer on 24, has had the luxury of growing up in a creative household — his mother is actress Shirley Douglas and his father is actor Donald Sutherland.  The elder Sutherland has a prolific body of work and is known for his quirky roles. He’s perhaps best loved for his portrayal of World War II tank officer “Oddball” in the 5-star Clint Eastwood film Kelly’s Heroes.

And normally we would assume, like everyone else, that this actors’ kid has had an easy time of it, inheriting all the connections and good fortune from his famous parents. Instead, it’s been a different path for Kiefer, who’s had limited guidance from his family and has really gone out on his own.  He’s even been a rodeo competitor and started a record label.

Kiefer Sutherland tours to promote 'Down In a Hole' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland tours to promote ‘Down In a Hole’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Cryin’ Cowboys Here

The new album, Down In a Hole, is a real departure from what we might expect from the rough and tumble millionaire actor.  The music is reflective and somber. As they say, if you’ve just broken up with someone, don’t listen to country music because it could only make you feel more sad.  Nobody likes a crying cowboy.  Kiefer doesn’t exactly cry, but it’s apparent he’s had his share of heartbreak.

The writing of these songs and Kiefer’s expression of these long-suppressed feelings is “cathartic” as he said in a recent interview with CaliforniaRocker.com

Rick Brantley opened the evening with some down-home songs – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer and The Crowd

Well the songs may be “cathartic” for Kiefer, but the performances of those songs to packed Southern California crowds is nothing short of remarkable. His shows at the crowded Stagecoach, and packed houses at the Roxy and Great American Music Hall show Kiefer really connect. I don’t care how good an actor you may be, but hitting the stage with a guitar and putting your vulnerability out there for the world to see at a live performance venue takes guts.  Particularly for a TV and film actor, who is used to having a director of photography shoot his best side, having a director do another take just so the actor can look good or having an editor use a more flattering scene.

Kiefer at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

New Chapter for Kiefer

Kiefer is having fun and the emotional songs like “I’ll Do Anything,” and “Not Enough Whiskey”  do reflect on some of the mistakes he’s made in life. Regardless, we could all take a page from  Kiefer’s book.  He’s taken his heartbreak and long-buried emotions and turned them into performances that please the masses.

And he says he’s still working out his issues, which is good for the fans: He’s got some new songs on the way.

Video courtesy of Christopher Pack

California Rocker Wins Best Photo Essay, Best Action Photo at Prestigious LA Press Club Awards Gala

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ

By DOTTIE PARIS

California Rocker, the online music magazine, won Best Photo Essay and Best Action Photo categories Sunday night at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The awards were presented to California Rocker producer Donna Balancia at the annual awards gala that honors the best of entertainment journalism.  The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

California Rocker Wins Best Action Photo

Donna Balancia Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - California Rocker Wins

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Best Action Photo was awarded to Donna Balancia for her image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the high-energy frontman for At The Drive-In, leaping into the air at the Hollywood Palladium.  California Rocker wins included third place in the same action photo category for a beautiful image of the legendary surf guitar master Dick Dale performing to an adoring crowd at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Best Photo Essay for Suzanne Allison Witkin

Suzanne Allison Witkin - Vampires California Rocker Wins

Suzanne Allison Witkin took first place for her photo essay “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin

Renowned rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin won Best Photo Essay for “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires,” a photographic documentation of behind-the-scenes with the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

The gala was attended by hundreds of writers, editors, producers and photographers and honored renowned songwriter Diane Warren, actress Angela Lansbury, and late-night talk show star Chelsea Handler.

‘Voices of Independent Artists Heard Tonight’

Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go California Rocker Wins

The photo of Dick Dale taken at the Whisky A Go-Go was honored with a win in the action photo category – Photo © Donna Balancia

“I started California Rocker three years ago to give independent artists a voice,” Donna said. “Their voices were clearly heard tonight as our work was selected over that of the corporate media.  We will continue to work with up-and-coming and established musicians, writers and photographers so talent and truth can shine through.”

Previous wins include the work of Heather Harris in the LA Press Club’s first-ever Photo Essay category, for her images of musician James Williamson’s all-star concert at the Bootleg, and Donna’s image of Flyin’ Jay Armant, of the band Fishbone, launching into the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.

California Rocker has had several finalist designations and this year was no exception. California Rocker took three finalist designations among five in the action photo category and Suzanne’s Photo Essay was among three finalists.

CaliforniaRocker.com Nabs Four Finalist Nods for Arts and Entertainment Awards by Los Angeles Press Club

By JOHN DALY, CaliforniaRocker.com

HOLLYWOOD – CaliforniaRocker.com, a music industry website and fanzine published by Donna Balancia, received four National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards finalist designations, it was announced by The Los Angeles Press Club.

The finalist selections all came in the area of photography: Three images were in the Action Photography category and one finalist selection came in the Photo Essay category.

Suzanne Allison Witkin scored a Los Angeles Press Club nod with her photo essay, "On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires" - Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

Rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scored an LA Press Club nod with her photo essay, “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires” – Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

“Our work reflects our commitment to the highest quality music journalism,” said publisher Donna Balancia. “Our independent website and fanzine strive to give up-and-coming as well as established musicians a voice amid the overwhelming coporate clatter.”

Winning Images: Hollywood Vampires, At The Drive-In

CaliforniaRocker.com, which first went live in 2014, dominated the photography categories, with photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scoring for her Photo Essay called “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires.”  The project included a diary with exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and all of The Hollywood Vampires.

Los Angeles Press Club Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium: A winning image – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

California Rocker Dominates Action Photos

CaliforniaRocker.com also scored a record three finalist designations in the Action Photo category. The photos, taken by Donna, captured Fishbone’s “Flyin’ Jay” Armant launching himself into the audience at The Roxy Theatre; Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the band At The Drive-In leaping into the air at The Hollywood Palladium, and the 80-year-old Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar,” revving the audience with his upbeat music.

Los Angeles Press Club Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

 

Los Angeles Press Club Keeping Journalism Alive

“We are honored to be selected as finalists for the National Arts and Entertainment Awards,” Donna Balancia said. “The Los Angeles Press Club strives to keep journalism alive. We too not only support independent journalism, but through our stories and images we also help musicians at a time when the music business is extremely challenging.

“CaliforniaRocker.com has the best reviewers, writers and photographers in the music world working together with us, and we are delighted with the finalist designations.”

Los Angeles Press Club Fishbone image has been named a finalist in the action photo category of the National Arts and Entertainment Awards - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The remarkable ‘Flyin’ Fishbone’ image was captured by Donna Balancia at The Roxy Theatre – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

%d bloggers like this: