On the heels of the Season 4 premiere of his hit television series “Leverage” on TNT, Oklahoma-bred actor/musician Christian Kane released his much-anticipated second single “Let Me Go” to radio today.
The song, produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and Kiss’s “Destroyer”) and Jimmie Lee Sloas (Reba McEntire, Lee Ann Womack and Danny Gokey), and written by hitmakers Casey Beathard (“Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo” and “Drinkin’ Bone” by Tracy Byrd and “Beer Man” by Trent Willmon) and Tom Shapiro (“You Look Good In My Shirt” by Keith Urban and “Living And Living Well” by George Strait), is a classic country power ballad that tells a vivid and relatable story of the challenges and surprises that come with being in love.
“Let Me Go” was one of only three songs on the album that Kane did not have a hand in writing. It also happens to be my favorite from “The House Rules,” his 2010 debut album on the Bigger Picture Group.
In a recent phone interview, Kane told me that the passionate ballad is one of his favorites from the album, too.
“I love that song, and I just can’t wait to get it out there,” he told me. “I wanted to get ‘The House Rules’ out first so that everyone could see and hear what kind of show they’re into if they come to a Kane show. And then you surprise ‘em with ‘Let Me Go,’ because it’s like ‘Wait a minute, there is some romance in these guys, and they’re not just up there drinking Jack and hammering on Strats.’ And that was important for me.”
He added, “‘The House Rules’ told you who we were. ‘Let Me Go’ shows you what we can do.”
The moving lyrics coupled with Kane’s powerful narrative vocals paint an authentic picture of a couple on the brink of big changes while capturing both vantage points; the effect is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful.
While the Norman-bred singer-songwriter is best known for his role as “Eliot” on TNT’s “Leverage,” on which he choreographs all his own fight scenes, he also has dedicated time to focus his attention on his first love: music.
“I’m from Oklahoma, and country music has always been first and foremost in my heart,” said Kane. “I am truly fortunate to be able to do something that I love and to have such supportive fans.”
“Let Me Go” follows his debut single “The House Rules,” which hit radio in October 2010. The video, directed by his Oscar-winning “Leverage” co-star Timothy Hutton, premiered on CMT’s “Big New Music Weekend,” where it debuted at No. 2, beating out Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton and Jerrod Neiman.
Kane recently wrapped filming the music video for “Let Me Go,” which will debut later this month. Shot on location in Los Angeles, the video was directed by legendary director, Roman White, whose credits include Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire, Justin Bieber and Martina McBride, as well as the 2011 CMT Music Award for Video of the Year for Taylor Swift’s hit “Mine.”
While he was born in Dallas, Kane spent most of his childhood in Norman, where he calls home. When the call of Los Angeles proved too strong to ignore, he set off to pursue a career in the entertainment business and quickly caught the attention of the talent executives at MGM’s television series “Fame L.A.” Kane was cast as a comedian, but after hearing him sing, his leading role was rewritten and changed to that of a singer.
He later met songwriting partner Steve Carlson and together they formed the band Kane. Packing such hot spots as The Viper Room and The Mint, Kane and Carlson became well known in the L.A. community for their strong original songwriting and high-energy performances. Kane was soon receiving airplay from L.A. country rad io and the two began taking regular trips to Nashville to polish their writing chops. In Nashville, Christian partnered with Bigger Picture Group, joined the EMI songwriting family, and wrote “Happy Man,” a cut that’s included on Trace Adkins’ 2010 album, “Cowboy’s Back in Town.”
Learn how to request that “Let Me Go” be added to the play list at your local country music station by clicking here.
And watch Christian on “Leverage,” which airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on TNT.
Christian Kane enjoys dual career acting on TV show “Leverage,” touring in support of country-rock album
A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Christian Kane keeps finding “Leverage”
The Norman-bred actor/musician continues to star on the popular TV series while working on his second career as a country-rock singer/songwriter/musician.
Christian Kane’s two-fisted career as an actor and musician has become a logistical challenge.
The Texas-born, Oklahoma-bred TV star spends five months a year shooting the popular caper series “Leverage,” which will return for its fourth season premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday on TNT.
As soon as he wraps filming on the show, the country-rock singer/songwriter/musician hits the road playing a different kind of show. He released his debut album “The House Rules” last year, and the second single, “Let Me Go,” hits radio Monday, which also happens to be his 37th birthday.
“Fortunately, it’s become a problem … with the success of this show and with the success of how the music’s going. My time is limited on both. It’s a great problem to have, and I’m looking forward to having to solve it. It is tough, but God bless it, if it wasn’t tough, you’re not doing very well,” Kane said in a phone interview from Portland, Ore., where “Leverage” films.
“And every day on the set or every day on the stage is a gift, so it’s a good problem to have.”
On “Leverage,” Kane plays “retrieval specialist” Eliot Spencer, the heavy hitter on a five-person team of professional criminals who use their skills to help people victimized by the wealthy, the corrupt and the powerful. Led by former insurance investigator Nathan Ford (Oscar winner Timothy Hutton), the team also includes grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) and cat burglar Parker (Beth Riesgraf).
“With this character, I get to go back to Oklahoma. I just get to bust heads for a living,” said Kane, who grew up in Norman. “I think you’re gonna get to see a lot more emotions come out of Eliot this year than we’re really used to. But look, I mean, I’m their meal ticket … I’m the guy that doesn’t change. They keep viewers by just having me pound on people’s heads and so that’s what I’m gonna keep doing.
“I know my job,” he said with a laugh. “It’s not that hard. Everyone dances around with their hearts in their hands and stuff like that, and I’m just punchin’ people.”
The University of Oklahoma alumnus enjoys doing his own stunts, working out fight choreography and coming up with new moves. It’s become a challenge to keep the action sequences fresh.
“And I happen to really love, love challenges,” he said. “So it’s a lot more fun than I think it ever has been to try to come up with something new that no one’s ever seen before.”
As tough as his character is, Eliot is no superhero. He sometimes gets pounded in his face-offs with fellow heavies. He promises there will be blood when mixed-martial arts champion Urijah Faber guest stars on “Leverage” later this season in an episode directed by legendary actor/filmmaker Frank Oz.
“There was a fight scene where Eliot needed someone that could kick his a — , and I said, ‘I got the guy,’” he said of his friend Faber. “He did us a really big favor. He’s fighting for the world championship on July 2, and of course, I’m going to that to support him. … To have someone who’s actually that great at the fight game, you don’t know what you’re in for.”
Another of the show’s Season 4 guest stars will look familiar to many Oklahomans: Leon Rippy, who played the scruffy angel Earl on the three seasons of TNT’s spiritual crime drama “Saving Grace,” which was set in Oklahoma City. Rippy will play a powerful nemesis for the “Leverage” crew in a multi-episode arc.
“We’re so lucky to have him, of course, especially for Oklahomans and someone like me. I mean, he played (an angel of) God to a girl in Oklahoma,” Kane said. “He’s a great actor, and Oklahomans really loved ‘Saving Grace.’ So for him to be able to come and play a role, that’s just great news for us.”
Besides high-profile guests, Kane credits the show’s continued success to tight scripts and an even tighter cast.
“We’re still all best friends, and that just doesn’t happen on TV shows,” he said. “After four years, somebody doesn’t like anyone. I mean, there’s a war going on somewhere in the cast. I’m sorry, that’s just how it is.
“We get done with 12-, 13-, 14-hour days and we all get in our cars and go to dinner to eat together. That’s how close we are. It’s a very tight-knit cast. I mean, we are closer than the actual characters on the show.”
Hutton even directed Kane’s first music video, to the raucous title track of his debut, which was released in December on indie Bigger Picture Music Group. The musician will film the video to the passionate ballad “Let Me Go” next weekend. He originally recorded an album for Sony, but the label decided not to release it because executives didn’t think Kane could do both music and television.
“Bigger Picture decided that they didn’t believe that, and they were right, because it’s been a really good marriage for me to be able to do this,” he said.
Kane actually got to let his two careers collide last season on “Leverage,” when Eliot posed as a country singer to run a con against a corrupt studio executive. He got to bring some of his original music to the episode, which featured “Dukes of Hazzard” star John Schneider and became the highest rated in the series’ history.
While he often returns to Oklahoma to visit family, Kane also hopes to bring his next tour back to his home state because “those are my people.”
“Man, if I was any better, I’d be twins,” he said. “Good times. It’s a good time in my life right now.”
NASHVILLE – The Country Music Association has released a comprehensive list of the acts playing at the massive 2011 CMA Music Festival, and Oklahoma will be represented by Country Music Hall of Famer Roy Clark, actor/singer/songwriter Christian Kane and singer-songwriter Wade Hayes.
As previously announced, among the stars playing the festival’s premier venue, LP Field, will be Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts, who all have Oklahoma ties.
At the festival, fans will hear performances from newly-signed artists, radio favorites, today’s superstars, legendary members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and more. Celebrating its 40th birthday this year, CMA Music Festival takes place Thursday-Sunday, June 9 to 12, in downtown Nashville.
“Fans will hear live music almost everywhere they turn at CMA Music Festival,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer, in a news release. “We have legends, superstars, today’s favorites, multi-media personalities, rising stars, international celebrities, and unsigned artists performing almost around the clock. We appreciate all of these artists coming together to give our fans an outstanding celebration for the 40th CMA Music Festival.”
See performance lineups, listed in alphabetical order, after the break. Go to www.CMAfest.com for schedules and performance times. Artists are subject to change.
Mary Fallin officially became the 27th governor of Oklahoma when she was sworn in Monday afternoon outside the state Capitol. She becomes the state’s first female governor and the fourth Republican to hold the office.
Several Oklahoman music stars participated in the festivities surrounding Fallin’s inauguration. Our intrepid photographers from The Oklahoman captured many of them singing at various events:
Three Oklahoma music talents are featured in this week’s new releases.
Oklahoma City rockers Hinder drop their third album, “All American Nightmare,” today. The band will play a hometown show Dec. 18 at the Diamond Ballroom. For more information, go to www.diamondballroom.net.
Grammy-nominated Tulsa crooner Charlie Wilson of GAP Band fame releases his fifth solo effort, “Just Charlie,” today.
And actor/country music artist Christian Kane, who grew up in Norman and attended the University of Oklahoma, submits his full-length debut album “The House Rules” today. Kane stars on the TNT caper series “Leverage,” and his Oscar-winning co-star Timothy Hutton directed the video for the album’s raucous title track.
Listed here are the new CDs, DVDs and books, from Amazon.com, VideoETA.com and BarnesandNoble.com:
Hinder, “All American Nightmare.”
Charlie Wilson, “Just Charlie.”
Christian Kane, “The House Rules.”
Daft Punk, “Tron: Legacy Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.”
Natasha Bedingfield, “Strip Me.”
Plain White T’s, “Wonders of the Younger.”
T.I., “No Mercy.”
Boy Meets World: The Complete Fourth Season
A Dog Year
Dragnet 1969: Season 3
Law & Order: The Eighth Year
MLB 2010 World Series Champions: San Francisco
Shrek Forever After
Spongebob Squarepants: Season 6, Volume 2
The Year of Getting to Know Us
“Dead or Alive” by Tom Clancy with Grant Blackwood
“Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy Series No. 6)” by Richelle Mead
“The Essential Advantage : How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy” by Paul Leinwand
“Straight Talk, No Chaser : How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man” by Steve Harvey
“The Gift (Witch and Wizard Series No. 2)” by James Patterson, Ned Rust
“Brazen Virtue (Sacred Sins Series No. 2)” by Nora Roberts
“Decoded” by Jay-Z
“No Place to Run (KGI Series No. 2)” by Maya Banks
Oklahoma-bred actor/musician Christian Kane recently spoke with CMT.com about the truth he finds in making country music.
“I get paid to lie to people as an actor,” Kane told CMT. “Country music is the one area that I don’t lie. I tell the truth.”
Kane, who grew up in Norman and attended the University of Oklahoma, plays Eliot Spencer, the muscle on a good-hearted team of cons on the TNT caper series “Leverage.” His past TV roles include “Angel,” “Into the West” and “Close to Home,” and he made a memorable appearance in Carrie Underwood’s “So Small” music video. He also has appeared in the films “Friday Night Lights,” “Secondhand Lions” and “Just Married.”
Along with acting, Kane has been pursuing a career as a country music singer, and he has been gaining some ground with his single “The House Rules.”
“I don’t apologize for what I do. I love what I do,” he says. “They always say, ‘Are you an actor or are you a singer?’ I say, ‘I’m an entertainer.’”
He said he got his first acting role because he was a singer, but his acting career actually has stalled his foray into the music business.
“It’s a tough road,” he told CMT. “People think that I’ve gotten the red carpet because I’m an actor. It’s absolutely the opposite. There were fences put up. There were walls put up. And if you know me, you know that I just go through them.”
“The House Rules,” which Kane co-wrote Blair Daly, is the title track for his first full-length country album, due out Dec. 7 from Bigger Picture Group.
“It’s really all the stuff that I know about, which tends to be whiskey and women,” he told CMT about his album. “You’re not going to hear me sing about being on a tractor or being married … because I don’t know anything about that.”
Kane worked with legendary producer Bob Ezrin and Nashville veteran Jimmie Lee Sloas on his major label debut. Also signed to a songwriting deal with EMI Music Publishing, Kane writes much of his own material. He has written with hit songwriters Blair Daly, David Lee Murphy, Casey Beathard, Jerrod Niemann and fellow Oklahoma boy Brett James. He worked with James and Murphy to pen “Happy Man,” which was included on the deluxe edition of Trace Adkins’ 2010 album “Cowboy’s Back in Town.”
CMT recently debuted the music video to “The House Rules,” directed by Kane’s “Leverage” co-star Timothy Hutton. The Oscar-winning actor, whose directorial efforts include the Cars’ video “Drive,” Don Henley’s “Not Enough Love” and a Neil Young concert film, “Freedom,” volunteered to helm Kane’s video.
Kane expects to do more singing on “Leverage” since his performance of his “Thinking of You” helped the episode titled “The Studio Job” become the series’ highest rated.
In a 2008 interview, Kane told me that he divides his time between L.A. and Nashville but owns land south of Norman. His parents live in Tulsa, and Oklahoma is still home.
“This is a great place to be raised, and it’s a great place to die,” he said. “It’s funny because you fight so hard to get out of Oklahoma, and now I’m fighting so hard to get back.”
Two Oklahoma singers have their new music videos featured today-Sunday as part of CMT’s latest Big New Music Weekend, which features eight exclusive world premiere videos from country music’s hottest stars on CMT and CMT.com.
Ada native and Tishomingo resident Blake Shelton debuts his video for “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking,” the second single from “All About Tonight,” his second Six Pak album release this year. Shelton, who was invited Tuesday to join the Grand Ole Opry, has been on a hot streak this year, with his last two singles – “Hillbilly Bone” and “All About Tonight” – hitting No. 1.
Will he score a third straight No. 1 with this new ballad? He should because Shelton is a fine balladeer.
Written by Earl Bud Lee and John Wayne Wiggins, “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” might sound a bit familiar to country fans – Joe Nichols previously recorded it on his “Real Things” album.
The video features a bevy of beauties and Shelton thoughtfully crooning lyrics like
Who are you when I’m not around
When the door is locked and the shades are down
Do you listen to your music quietly
And when it feels just right are ya thinking of me?
Lovely ladies also are featured in the video for actor/singer Christian Kane’s raucous party song “The House Rules.” Kane, who grew up in Norman, tapped Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, his co-star from the TNT caper series “Leverage,” to direct the video. The video was shot at Dante’s in Portland, Ore., and edited by Hutton’s son, Noah.
“One of my best friends in the world, Mr. Timothy Hutton directed the video and it was such a collaboration of the band, the company, and friend’s hard work and dedication” says Kane in a news release. “We had 400 fans show up to be in the video so there were no extras, just friends having a good time and we couldn’t have done it without them. I really hope people have as much fun watching it as we did making it!”
Kane is currently out on the road on a rigorous radio tour across the country in support of his debut single “The House Rules.” The director’s cut version of the video will be made available for fans to purchase on iTunes starting Oct. 19.
Christian Kane in “Leverage”
In this week’s new releases, Stone Temple Pilots put out their first album on new material in nearly a decade, the John Wayne classic “Stagecoach” gets its Blu-ray release and Sylvia Browne discusses her life as a “Psychic” in her autobiography.
In addition, the second season of the entertaining TNT caper series “Leverage” comes out on DVD today. The series, which has been picked up for a third season, stars Norman-bred actor Christian Kane as one of a team of con artists with Robin Hood-like tendencies.
Here is a list of the week’s new CDs, DVDs and books, from Amazon.com, VideoETA.com and The Oklahoman’s Renee Lawrence:
Stone Temple Pilots, “Stone Temple Pilots.”
Smashing Pumpkins, “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope 1: Songs for a Sailor” (Box set).
Hank Williams III, “Rebel Within.”
John Prine, “In Person & On Stage.”
Marc Anthony, “Iconos.”
Widespread Panic, “Dirty Side Down.”
Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, “Jasmine.”
David Cross, “Bigger and Blackerer.”
Flashpoint: The Second Season
Leverage: The 2nd Season
Royal Pains: The Complete First Season
True Blood: The Complete Second Season
Psychic: My Life in Two Worlds by Sylvia Browne.
Sidney Sheldon’s After the Darkness by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe.
The Naked Truth: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewife of New Jersey-In Her Own Words by Danielle Staub.
Hearts on a String by Kris Radish.
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Allies by Christie Golden.
God of War by Matthew Stover.
Samson by Jacquelin Thomas.
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black.
The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress by William Jelani Cobb.
Fade to Midnight by Shannon McKenna.
God Ain’t Through Yet by Mary Monroe.
The Bible of Unspeakable Truths by Greg Gutfield with a foreword by Penn Jillette.
Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ’70s by Dan Epstein.
Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann.
Predator by Terri Blackstock.
The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum (Thursday).
The Flaming Lips play their New Year’s Eve Freakout #3 Dec. 31 at Oklahoma City’s Cox Convention Center. (Photo by Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman Archives)
Kings of Leon appear at the 2010 Grammy Awards. (Associated Press file photo)
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Miranda Lambert performs Jan. 8 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman)
UPDATE: Since this story was written Tuesday afternoon, country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert, who lives in Tishomingo, has been added to the Bonnaroo lineup.
The Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon, Cross Canadian Ragweed and Miranda Lambert are among the artists with Oklahoma ties that have been confirmed for the ginormous Bonnaroo 2010 music festival.
Rolling Stone reports that the lineup for Bonnaroo has been slowly announced throughout the day and also includes Jay-Z, Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, Jeff Beck, Jeff Fogerty, OK Go, She & Him, They Might Be Giants, Zac Brown Band and more.
Bonnaroo 2010 will be June 10-13 in Manchester, Tenn.
In a show configuration that should sound familiar to Oklahoma fans, frontman Wayne Coyne tells Rolling Stone that the Lips will play a midnight set the first day of Bonnaroo, starting with a performance of their own material followed by their live cover of Pink Floyd’s seminal album “The Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety.
The Oklahoma City-based Lips performed “Dark Side” live for the first time in full in a similar setup at their third annual New Year’s Eve Freakout this year in Oklahoma City.
In honor of his redesigned Web site, Norman-bred actor/musician Christian Kane is giving away a free mp3 of his rollicking song “The House Rules” at www.christiankane.com.
It’s a fun honky-tonk rock song and definitely worth checking out.
Kane’s caper show “Leverage” resumed its second season Wednesday on TNT.