If you go
› What: The Bacon Brothers
› When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 17
› Where: Songbirds South, 41 Station St.
› Admission: $30 (18 and older only).
› For more information: 423-531-2473
Nine years separate the Bacon Brothers, the duo of Michael, 68, and Kevin, 59. Like a lot of siblings with an age difference, Kevin says he looked up to his older brother. It's fairly normal for the younger sibling to look up to the older one, and less so for it to work the other way.
Kevin says he remembers the time he was asked to join Michael onstage to play a little music.
"Well, I'm not sure I'm actually cool yet," he says, "but I always wanted to hang with my older brother because he was cool. He had a cool apartment near our house in Philly when I was 12 or so. I was playing percussion in some local bands and he asked me to join his backup band. That was really fun for me, to be onstage for a couple songs. It's the cover of our first record."
And like other siblings, Michael was there to introduce his younger brother to cool new music.
"Mike came home from a trip to Europe with some 45s from The Rolling Stones. I also remember the [Big Brother and the Holding Company] "Cheap Thrills" record with all that R. Crumb art," he says. "But I was a big music fan. Listening to my AM radio, WDAS soul music."
The Bacon Brothers have been touring and recording together now for more than two decades and have recorded seven albums. They will appear at Songbirds on Tuesday, July 17. Kevin, of course, is well known for his acting career, with more than 80 films to his credit.
Michael, in addition to being a teacher, is well known as a film composer. He says writing for the band and writing for film are two different animals.
"Writing songs and writing instrumental music for media are two completely different endeavors. I have a natural tap that I can turn off and on anytime I want, whereas songwriting is much more difficult to respond to the feelings that could possibly turn into a song."
Both say in an email interview that they come from a musical family and that collaborating is just what the family does.
"We came from a family [in which] relating to each other creatively was like breathing in and out," Michael says. "We had a family of cousins in California, [and] they were all great musicians and we would share recordings back and forth."
The two brothers naturally started writing, though they do far less of that together than they used to, and were doing less playing together, so the idea of forming a band was the logical next step.
"The driving force is songwriting," Kevin says.
"We write them. Then we want to play them for people. Then we want to record them. That's why there are seven albums of original music. All because of the songs."
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.