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Bacon Brothers' new album, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Kevin and Michael Bacon are only one degree removed from each other -- and not even that when it comes to making music.

Music as been a going concern for the Bacon Brothers since childhood, but as an actual band since a 1995 show in their home town of Philadelphia. It's a respite from their day jobs -- Kevin's as an actor, Michael's as a composer and an instructor at Lehman College in New York -- and the duo has released eight studio albums.

The latest of those, "The Way We Love," comes out Friday, July 17 with nine original songs and a live cover of the Cannonball Adderley/Buckinghams hit "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" with friend and former baseball star Bernie Williams. The Bacons co-produced seven of the tracks on the diverse set, which runs the gamut from the upbeat dance-pop of "Play!" -- a single released last summer -- to the bluesgrass-flavored "Picker" and the smooth jazz of "The Cooking Song (Add Love and Stir)"...

The Bacons say that the "Play!" single last year put the two of them back in music mode, gradually assembling songs that became the new album. "Like most things with our band, we follow where it seems to be leading rather than saying, 'OK, we're gonna put out a record in the middle of July'," Michael explains. "We eventually finished up 10 songs and were like, 'Omigod, we have enough songs,' and there's the album."

With four songs released as singles first, however, Kevin says that he would have been happy to "just keep putting singles out, and eventually down the line, if you want to you turn them into a record. But my brother, not to put words in his mouth, he likes to do albums, and I think that when I sat down and listened to this one back I kind of went, 'Yeah, this is a good idea.' It holds together in a way that I think not all our stuff has. There's something about this one that...has a kind of maturity, I guess. No surprise there. We've been doing this awhile."

The stylistic range of "The Way We Love," meanwhile, is no surprise to the Bacon Brothers, either. "It always is, having two songwriters and the amount of instruments everybody plays," says Kevin, who wrote the song "Corona Tune" during the early days of the pandemic lockdown. "One day we'll feel ike we want to make something rock and one day we want to make something that feels a little more soulful. It's all over the map. But even given that, there's a consistency to this one that I can't put my finger on."

Michael agrees that the album's unifying thread is "an elusive thing" but says a "slightly different" creative process is at the root of it. "I think the songs on this record are a little more simple, overall. In the trajectory of our songwriting career, Kevin would come up with these amazingly creative and interesting lyrics and hooks and I would help him arrange it into some sort of sculpture form. In a lot of ways both of us maybe struggled with a bit of over-complexity, and if something ranges all over the place it's a little more difficult to fall in love with it. The songs on this record tend to be simpler and more direct and maybe a bit more repetitive -- and definitely hooky. These are extremely accessible songs about things that happen to regular ol' people in our country every day."

Due to pandemic restrictions the Bacons are biding their time until they're able to perform live to promote "The Way We Love." Michael, who finished his latest semester teaching online, is waiting to see what Lehman plans for the fall. Kevin, meanwhile, co-starred in the new film "You Should Have Left" and is waiting for his Showtime crime drama "City on a Hill" to resume filming. He and wife Kyra Sedgwick also contributed a song to a John Prine online tribute in June and have started making a short film at home. "We're just trying to get through, like everybody else," Kevin says. "I'm a super worky kind of person, so I have my moments. But, y'know, we've got a roof, we have each other. For our situation it could be worse, so I'm just trying to feel gratitude for that."

The Bacon Brothers' latest album, "The Way We Love," comes out Friday, July 17, on their own Forosoco Records label.

Web Site: www.baconbros.com

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