Kinship and Cohesive Songwriting Define The Bacon Brothers and Their New LP ‘Ballad of the Brothers’

To be in communion with your brother, to create something with him that you’re proud of and, perhaps most importantly, keeps you close—what could be better? For Kevin and Michael Bacon, the two brothers from the City of Brotherly Love who comprise the singer/songwriter duo The Bacon Brothers, harmony—both literally and figuratively—is why their work as musicians is only getting better, as evidenced by their new album Ballad of the Brothers, which drops on Friday (April 19).

Videos by American Songwriter

“I’ve never understood the battling brother syndrome,” Michael tells American Songwriter. “I don’t get it, though it seems more common than not.”

“When it comes to music,” adds Kevin, “I’ve learned so much from my brother, which is just a great gift he’s given me. Because he didn’t really need to necessarily support me as a musician.”

The two have been playing together as The Bacon Brothers since 1994, though their musical partnership dates back to their younger days growing up in Philadelphia. Michael is the natural musician. He decided he wanted to pursue the art form from an early age, while Kevin pursued an acting career that has made him one of Hollywood’s most-enduring stars. And if it wasn’t for Michael, says the younger Kevin, he doesn’t know if he would have ever gone beyond just dabbling in music. The brothers note their partnership has helped them become closer than they likely would have been without the band.

“We probably wouldn’t have ended up spending that much time together,” says Kevin. “But the band requires that and that’s a pretty cool focus.”

The duo’s new LP marks their 10th album; their last, Erato, was released in 2022. And while Kevin is the well-known actor, Michael has carved out quite the career in music even outside the brother band. He scores film and television projects, is an Emmy Award winner, and an acclaimed professor at Lehman College in The Bronx, New York.

Their other jobs not withstanding, the band allows the brothers the freedom to be themselves and drill down to what they love most about it: the songwriting. Their new LP boasts some great original songs, including the spoken-word title track and covers including “We Belong.” But perhaps the biggest standout is “Live with the Lie,” an emotional blues-rock offering they penned years ago about the recipient of pain and the teller of an untruth.

“We recorded it live,” Kevin says of the version on the new LP. “Without a click track. All of us [the brothers and their band] in one room, playing straight through the song. That was maybe take two. That was a lot of fun.”

The brothers said they had planned to release a series of singles but when they got together with their distributor, everyone agreed a complete album was best. Another standout song is “Dreams of the San Joaquin,” a song a friend of Michael’s from Nashville wrote. On it, Michael plays piano and sings with a forlorn beauty he’s come to be known for. Other potential hits include the wry “Old Bronco” and “Airport Bar.” For the new album, the brothers also worked with some outside songwriters, which is a relatively new phenomenon, especially for Kevin—something he likens to a “blind date.” He, of course, is famous enough to hire a big name artist to write for the band. But that’s not the route they chose. Instead, they kept it more organic to the brotherly dynamic.

“I never thought about hiring Drake to write us a song,” Kevin says with a chuckle.

Due to their busy schedules, the two don’t often get in a room together to work anymore, yet they are seemingly in constant communication as writers. Sharing files, working on song demos, and perfecting tracks that at times are even years old. In this way, while the band enjoys a successful career, it also functions as a mode of familial closeness. The sonic conversation never ends.

As far as the future is concerned, the two will continue writing in between the live performances they have scheduled for this summer. It’s the result of their closeness and their reliance on the thing they do best together: writing tunes.

“I don’t hear that many bands that I like better than ours,” Michael says.

“Everything we do hinges on songwriting,” adds Kevin. “We don’t try and go out and feature our awesome voices or our awesome shredding skills. It’s about our songs.”

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for God’s Love We Deliver

Leave a Reply

Turn the Show Back On: Billy Joel Fans Livid About CBS Concert Special ‘The 100th’ Being Cut Short

Turn the Show Back On: Billy Joel Fans Livid Over CBS Concert Special ‘The 100th’ Being Cut Short