The Bacon Brothers have been putting out albums since the mid-1990s. Currently on tour promoting their latest recording, simply titled “The Bacon Brothers,” Michael and Kevin spoke to Free Press Houston.
“We grew up in Philadelphia. Our parents encouraged creativity — if you wanted to learn to play the cello, or take acting lessons or dance lessons, that’s what they wanted us to do,” says Michael.
The duo’s first album was titled “Forosoco.” It’s an amalgamation of folk, rock, soul and country. It was an attempt to defy the classification of songwriters as Americana or rockers as “roots rock” or “Southern rock.”
“You always get asked and it’s a fair question, so we just say folk rock soul country,” says Kevin, adding, “We’re still the only ones in that genre.”
The Bacon Brothers album came out June 1 and offers ten songs that define their particular sound. The first cut “Tom Petty T-Shirt,” offers a lament for things past while trying to move on with life.
Another song on the new album, “Driver,” rocks solid while describing the personal travails of a wanderer and their journey through life.
“I never expected that we would play that song,” says Kevin.
“We come from a family of six kids. We’re a close family, four sisters, my brother and I,” continues Kevin. “For Christmas presents one year we decided to draw names out of a hat instead of everybody getting something for everyone else. One of my sisters said why don’t you create something instead of buying something for the person you draw this year.” And that became the song “Driver.”
Both Kevin and Michael have ties to the movie industry, Kevin as a well-known actor and Michael as a composer whose award winning music has been used in movies and television shows for over thirty-years.
“Composing is what I do as a discipline,” says Michael. “It pays the bills and satisfies my clients. I’m also a college professor now, so that’s a whole other job.”
The Bacon Brothers perform live with a full band, with Michael doubling on cello, guitar and mandolin.
“I come up with my own tunings for the mandolin, it’s not my favorite instrument,” says Michael. “In composing, you’re always looking for a sound or a texture.”
The conversation turns to movies and each one of us relates a film that took them by surprise. Perhaps a late night television experience that changed your perspective on life.
For Michael, it’s Peter Watkins’ 1967 Privilege. “I saw it when I was 17 and in college. It’s about a rock singer who gets taken over by religious zealots. The film disappeared for many years and I couldn’t find it and somehow Kevin came up with a DVD of it. It’s a crazy film that nobody has seen, and I don’t know if they would like it if they had.”
Kevin’s choice is John Boorman’s 1974 visionary tale of the future, Zardoz. “That film totally surprised me.”
The Bacon Brothers appear live at the Heights Theater on Friday, June 8.