August 4th, 2014 10:22 am by Staff Report
The Bacon Brothers’ 2014 tour will bring them to Greeneville on Aug. 8 for a 7:30 p.m. performance at Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Niswonger Performing Arts Center
Long before Kevin launched his prolific stage and screen career, and before Michael became known as a go-to composer for film and television, they were just two brothers growing up in Philadelphia and making music together.
It’s a time preserved in the cover art for The Bacon Brothers’ "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.
Michael has gone on to become an Emmy Award-winning composer for film and television; most recently scoring "Good Fortune — The Story of Morgenthau," as well as a documentary about Texas Governor Ann Richards for HBO.
Kevin, a prolific stage and screen actor, is now starring in the FOX TV drama "The Following."
But there’s something about singing with your sibling. In 1995, the two formed a band. Now, 19 years later, any cynical preconceptions about well-known actors "dabbling" in music can safely be discarded. As The New Yorker 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."
The band has gigged relentlessly to build up a following and has released seven albums and a live concert DVD, including its 2011 European compilation release, "Philadelphia Road: The Best of The Bacon Brothers."
The Bacon Brothers’ 2014 tour will bring them to Greeneville on Aug. 8 for a 7:30 p.m. performance at Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Along the way, Kevin has apparently caught up with his elder brother in some surprising ways.
"Kevin writes a lot more songs than I do," Michael says. "While my days are filled with composing instrumental music for film and TV, songs are a more daunting challenge. 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."
For example, while the song "New Year’s Day" draws upon Kevin’s experiences, it isn’t necessarily about him.
" ‘New Year’s 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."
"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 wellknown actor than playing in a rock band as well."
For The Bacon Brothers, taking risks has certainly paid off. They kicked off their 2014 tour in January, and the band’s latest album, 36 Cents, is scheduled for a late summer release.
In addition to Michael on vocals, guitar and cello, and Kevin on vocals, guitar and percussion, The Bacon Brothers features Paul Guzzone on bass guitar and backing vocals; Joe Mennonna on keyboards and accordion; Frank Vilardi on drums; and Ira Siegel on lead guitar, mandolin, and backing vocals.
Tickets to their show at NPAC are $50 for orchestra level seating, $45 for mezzanine seating and $40 for balcony seats. Tickets may be purchased online at www.npacgreeneville.com , in person at the NPAC box office or by calling (423) 638-1679.actor, concert, film, movie, music, release, television, tour, tv