Hole-y Cow

singin-in-the-rain-diWay back when, when actors were still called entertainers, Hollywood stars were multi-talented individuals who sang, danced, and acted well – your Shirley Temples, Judy Garlands, Gene Kellys, and so many more. Studios knew they could not only rake in money off the films, but a Christmas album was a sure winner, and possibly even a touring performance.

Today, most actors are carefully pigeon-holed into one role, and there are very few “entertainers” who can successfully cross bridges in the industry. Some actors are talented musicians – Hugh Laurie plays a mean jazz piano, and Charo – yes, Charo the cuchi cuchi girl – was, at least at one point, one of the top three flamenco guitarists in the world. You have to see it to believe it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmNPXqG6ovg.  Some comedians are excellent dramatists – Robin Williams for one.  But some agents push actors with no talent into music, with embarrassing results. Ever listen to Clint Eastwood sing? Or William Shatner? Save yourself, and don’t Google Hulk Hogan singing.

But every now and then you hit the jackpot, and Kiefer Sutherland is one of them. Yes, That Kiefer Sutherland, whether killing as a vampire or saving people in under 24 hours, the Kiefer Sutherland whose father runs Pan Em and praises orange juice, second-generation Hollywood. The man can Sing.

Sutherland’s debut album is called Down in a Hole, and although it’s labeled country (and the steel guitars on a few tracks clinch it), the album is the closest thing I’ve heard in ages that resembles good old-fashioned rock and roll, the kind you can’t find on the kiefer-sutherlandradio anymore. Do NOT disregard the album because you don’t like country – it is well worth a listen. Sutherland has a rough and ready voice, Joe Cocker after four packs of unfiltered Camels – no polished music-school certificates here.

My favorite, I think, is “Going Home,” which has that glorious old rock feel. “Shirley Jean” is a tear-jerker, but almost more folk than country, not out of place in a Pete Seeger repertoire. “Not Enough Whiskey” isn’t my favorite, but it has a sweet rolling beat that just won’t let go. “I’ll Do Anything” is probably the most “country” song, steel strings twanging and pearl snaps shining. “All She Wrote” sounds like it was a track that didn’t make the final cut of a Sons of Anarchy album – you can almost hear the leather creaking.

Not too many singers/bands are successful at crossing the country/ rock line – The Eagles are probably the best example, maybe the Allman Brothers, with some singers – Dolly Parton (9 to 5), Kenny Rogers (The Gambler), Glen Campbell (Southern Nights, Rhinestone Cowboy), and Shania 4873bwTwain kicking occasional songs onto both country and pop charts at once. Kiefer Sutherland is another to watch – and the fact he has a severe hearing loss makes it all the more amazing. This is his debut album, and I cannot wait for the next one.

BOOK REVIEW: The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone

Juliana Stone

Juliana Stone

Author Juliana Stone loves the written word and 80’s rock.  She sings in an 80’s rock band where her husband plays the guitar.  So it’s no surprise that The Summer He Came Home centers around a bad boy rock ‘n roller.  This is book one in the series Bad Boys of Crystal Lake.

Ten years ago, Cain Black packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dream.  The death of one of his best friends forces him back home.  He thinks it’s going to be a quick trip to pay his respects, but his heart has other ideas.  Cain has learned the hard way that fame and fortune is not all it’s cracked up to be.  He finds out his wife (now ex) and best friend (also ex and key member of the band) were fooling around with each other behind his back and he’s also just plain tired of the rock star life style.

Maggie-Grace O’Rourke is a single mom and new to Crystal Lake.  She works as a maid and is counting on living in the shadows to hide from her terrible past.  The last thing she needs is the attention of a famous rock star.  She’s looking for some peace and a good place to raise her 7 year old son.

Cain meets Maggie on his first day back in Crystal Lake.  Neither one wants or is prepared for the attraction they feel for each other.  The author takes her time in letting their relationship grow.  It was fun to watch them get comfortable with each other and Cain’s relationship with Maggie’s son is very sweet.   There is drama, suspense, and humor mixed in with a sweet and, eventually, hot romance.

One of the best aspects of the book was the relationships between Cain and the other “bad boys”.  We are introduced to Jake, who is the twin brother of Jessie – whose funeral it is that Cain came back for.  Jessie was killed in Afghanistan – his death witnessed by Jake.  Jessie leaves behind his wife, Raine.  Jake not only has issues with his twin’s death, but also what to do about Raine.  We are also introduced to Mac, an architect who has his own demons to deal with – namely an abusive father.  The author does an excellent job of weaving these characters, and others from this small town, into the story.

This is a beautifully written story of love and friendship with very realistic and likeable characters.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming books in this series.