Although there was a time early on in the Bacon Brothers’ 20-plus-year run as musicians that seeing Kevin Bacon’s name on the marquee may have caused some double takes—after all, the award-winning actor was so well known for his films that the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” became a popular party game—but along with his brother Michael, an award-winning composer, the duo has attracted quite a following for their music and rarely is someone surprised anymore.
With the Bacon Brothers, the Philadelphia-bred siblings sing, write songs and both play guitar. Kevin adds harmonica and percussion to the mix and Michael shows off his classical training on the cello.
“We live in the same city, but we don’t actually see each other a lot during the year, but when we’re out on tour, we’re basically living together in bunk beds like we were when we were younger,” Kevin said. “We have a very close family—there are six of us—and we all get along really well.”
Over the years, the duo has recorded several albums, and last month the Bacon Brothers released its newest single, “Play!”
“We just delivered a new six-song demo to our management of new songs we’ve written since our last record came out a year ago, which is a lot more than we would normally have because we’re not real fast writers,” Michael said. “This is our first single, and what we’d like to do is keep releasing singles whenever we can grab time to be in a studio between now and the fall, and hopefully we will get another couple out.”
“Play!” was written by Kevin—the two brothers normally write separately—and he said it was inspired by doing interviews and always being asked a question about being married so long.
“It’s a tough question and one that I don’t really like answering because I feel like it always comes down to some dumb sound bite that people then use. And I’m a little uneasy about giving people any sort of advice, because for me, it’s not really any sort of secret,” Kevin said. “One thing people say all the time is, ‘it must be a lot of work,’ but it’s not work, it’s play. So the song is about that. For me, relationships and romance are the opposite of work.”
In support of their newest release, the Bacon Brothers will play The Birchmere for three nights, July 19-21.
“When you’re a touring band, you play a lot of places, and eventually you come up with your favorite places, and I think that pound-for-pound, The Birchmere is the best club in the country,” Michael said. “They treat us really well and Alexandria is such a great town. It’s pretty rare we get to spend three days in one place and have the afternoon off to do other stuff, so we’re really looking forward to coming back.”
The brothers try hard to fit a summer tour into their schedules every year, which isn’t always easy considering their other commitments. Kevin most recently starred in Showtime’s “City on a Hill” while Michael recently scored Goodface Films’ “Master Maggie,” which premiered at the Tribeca Flim Festival in April.
“We do it because it’s about the songs. We really want to share them because it’s hard to just play them in a vacuum,” Kevin said. “For me, that’s what’s driven our records and playing live. There may be people all about being in the studio or just making records, but for most bands, you have to play live, and we love it.”
The Bacon Brothers are backed on stage by Paul Guzzone (bass, backing vocals), Joe Mennonna (keyboards, accordion), Tim Quick (lead guitar, mandolin and backing vocals) and Frank Vilardi (drums).
“Last summer, our tour had a lot of music from ‘The Bacon Brothers,’ our self-titled CD. A lot of that music will still be in the set because we haven’t been playing that too long,” Kevin said. “We’ll be adding in ‘Play’ and switching in some mash-up stuff, and some of the newer stuff. There are certain songs we know our crowd pleasers. James Taylor is so sick of playing ‘Fire and Rain,’ but when you don’t have a hit, you don’t really have that problem. It’s fun introducing people to new music and we try to keep it fresh.”