Kiefer Sutherland ‘Still Trying to Come to Grips With’ Playing the Grand Ole Opry
Kiefer Sutherland has accomplished plenty as a movie and TV star, but the Emmy-winning actor achieved a new career milestone on Tuesday (May 31), when he gave his inaugural performance at the Grand Ole Opry, in advance of his upcoming album, Down in a Hole.
"I’m still trying to come to grips with the words," Sutherland told The Boot and other reporters about his Opry debut. "The depth of humility that I felt standing there was quite overwhelming, and it made the show kind of go like a blur; it was over so fast.
"Having said that, the joy of being able to play with those incredible players, and the smiles on the faces of this band that I’ve been playing with for a year -- I’ve never seen them smile like that, ever, so that was extraordinary," he adds. "The audience was so incredibly gracious. And the people backstage were so nice."
The 49-year-old, who has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, including 24, A Few Good Men and Flatliners, among others, and starred on Broadway, says nothing will quite compare with performing on the hallowed stage.
"It’s such a huge experience; it’s going to take me a few days to be able to summarize that. But just, humility was really the thing that I felt the most," Sutherland shares. "I remember, when we did soundcheck, going up to that circle. I was like a kid [putting] my foot in the water; I was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, I can’t stand there.’ Some fantastic sound engineer walked by and went, ‘Oh, step in it,’ and I did. It was great reverence for the historical meaning of that place."
Sutherland has spent the last few months touring all across the country, performing songs from Down in a Hole -- even though the project isn't out yet. The cross-country trek might have helped Sutherland hone his singing chops, but he concedes that performing at the Opry is entirely different.
"We’ve been playing one-and-a-half-hour shows, and all of a sudden, we’re down to three songs," Sutherland explains. "I played a song called "Not Enough Whiskey" ... It is an old-school country song. I played another song called "Shirley Jean," which is a song about a man’s life night in prison before he’s executed, and he’s writing a letter home to the only girl he ever met, because he went to prison so young, and that’s kind of an old-school country song; that was really a tip of the hat to Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and guys that wrote songs like that ... We played [Haggard's] "The Bottle Let Me Down," and that was it."
Down in a Hole will be released this summer. "Not Enough Whiskey" is available for download on iTunes.
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