January 14, 2009

images-21Kevin Bacon is prolific. With over 55 films to his credit, there’s even a game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where players try to link any Hollywood actor to Kevin Bacon in as few moves as possible. However, according to his older brother and band mate, Michael, Kevin is an exceptional songwriter as well. The Bacon Brothers showcased their folk-rock sound in a short set at The Duplex on January 5, a tiny, West Village cabaret theater seating only 75 people.

The Bacon Brothers were special guests of singer/songwriter Julie Gold, a resident performer at the Duplex. Gold is famous for writing “From a Distance,” a song that Bette Midler recorded in 1990 that reached number two in the Billboard charts.

Seated at a baby grand, Gold launched the concert with four original compositions featuring her talented backup singers, Emily Bindiger and Margaret Dorn. A warm and generous performer, Gold shines in the small black box theater, with a style reminiscent of Carole King. Her voice is rough and untrained, yet rich and expressive. At times, she struggles to hit the high notes, but she sings with such sincerity and emotion that it doesn’t really matter.

After a brief introduction by Gold, The Bacon Brothers took the stage and played four songs in a stripped-down set, featuring acoustic guitar and cello and Kevin on lead vocals. Gold, who is from Philadelphia, has collaborated with Michael Bacon (also from Philly) since the late 60s’ when she met him as a teenager.

Despite the whiff of campiness at seeing the star of Footloose, A Few Good Men, and, most recently, Frost/Nixon performing at a gay club, Kevin Bacon’s performance was seriously enjoyable. Like a younger Jackson Browne, he’s a capable lyricist and singer with an easy stage presence. And who in the audience wouldn’t want to say they were just one degree away from Kevin Bacon?


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