The actor and musician is co-hosting CBS' Play On: Celebrating the Power of Music To Make Change concert special on Tuesday

By Nicholas Rice
Updated December 14, 2020 09:20 PM
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Kevin Bacon is speaking candidly about the power of music.

While chatting with PEOPLE ahead of his gig of co-hosting CBS' upcoming concert special — Play On: Celebrating the Power of Music To Make Change — on Tuesday, the 62-year-old actor spoke openly about music and the effects that it can have.

Describing the art form as "visceral" and "fundamental," Bacon tells PEOPLE exclusively that he is able to find the music in everything. "I think that if you listen to our heartbeat, [it] has a rhythm. And the way that people talk has musicality to it," the actor says.

"And, it's corny to say, but birds singing and bees buzzing and even the sound of a jackhammer or a train whistle can be musical in its way," he continues. "When we listen to music, it's a little bit of a chicken and egg thing. Because sometimes we listen to music when we're going through something that is emotional, and then the next time that we feel that kind of thing, it brings us back to that emotion."

"I think that [music] is clearly extremely important to all of us," Bacon adds.

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Kevin Bacon
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Now, the Footloose star is taking his love of music and using it to give back, as many continue to struggle amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Through the upcoming Play On special, Bacon will be joined by his fellow co-host Eve for the night's festivities, where the show will raise funds for two organizations, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and WhyHunger, collected through the Play On fund at SixDegrees.org. The latter organization was founded by Bacon.

Taking place at three iconic venues across the nation — the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the Apollo Theater in New York City and the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville — the show will see an array of stars perform from various musical genres, including Sara Bareilles, Machine Gun Kelly, Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi and LL Cool J.

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Detailing that he is "really excited" to take part in this program as a co-host and as an executive producer, Bacon says it has been a "pretty long journey" to get the special to come to fruition.

"We started talking about doing this right around the time when the pandemic hit so there were a lot of moving parts, to say the least, to try to get this thing off the ground," the actor shares. "So to see it finally coming together and to see the amazing work of these artists — and also know that we're gonna highlight these great organizations and raise some money for them — it's just a real great sense of satisfaction."

Bacon adds: "Even though a lot of songs are songs of social justice and protests, there's a lot of joy that the musicians have [in] getting a chance to get out and start playing together."

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Bacon, who is a musician himself (he plays alongside his brother, Michael Bacon, as part of the musical duo, The Bacon Brothers) adds that supporting the LDF and WhyHunger during the show is more important now than ever amid this tumultuous year. "Both of those issues have been really in the forefront," he notes.

"With the way that the economy has suffered from the pandemic, there's a lot of people that are out of work and a lot of people that are going hungry," he says. "And we see time and time again that there's a lot of inequity in terms of those people who are suffering from food inequality, and both of these organizations are really addressing that."

But, as Bacon notes, it is understood that "it's also a tough time to ask people to give back," and he says, "We've been really lucky that we found a lot of great philanthropic organizations that have really stepped up to the plate."

"We also have a call to action during the course of the show, where people can text and donate in small ways. And, you know, a lot of small donations make up a big one," he adds. "So it's great."

Play On: Celebrating the Power of Music To Make Change will air on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS and CBS All Access. The show is executive produced by Bacon, fashion designer John Varvatos, Rock the Bells founder and CEO LL Cool J, CBS This Morning anchor Anthony Mason, and benefit concert producers Greg Williamson and Nicole Rechter. Celebrated Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Steve Jordan will serve as music director for the concert special. To make donations during the broadcast, text code "PLAYON" to 44-321.