Over a decade in the making, Cinderella front man Tom Keifer is boldly launching his solo career with a thrilling and terrific new album, ‘The Way Life Goes’; an appropriate title, considering the multiple obstacles he’s been faced with.
But before we get into the new album, come take a step back in time with me. It’s now 1990, Cinderella has just finished their extensive Heartbreak Station tour.
Just as the band was at the top of their game, Tom faced several life-altering complications; nodules on his vocal chords, and a paralyzed left vocal chord. He was told by medical professionals that his case is devastating for vocalists, and that he would never be able to sing again. This directly affected his ability to perform, mentally and physically; and yet he never stopped persevering, rehabilitating and strengthening his vocal chords, and working on writing and performing music.
Although us fans have had to wait nearly twenty years to hear some new material from the renowned musician, when those first few racing guitar licks to “Welcome To My Mind” come cranking out of your speakers, you instantly know ‘The Way Life Goes” was more than worth the wait. The entire album is perfectionist in quality, from all of those years of revision and the occasional revisiting.
When I sat down and spoke with Tom about his new album, he talked about wanting to featuring multiple genres of music, to help take the listener on a journey. After listening to the album from start to finish this makes absolute sense, as Tom tackles on a broad selection of styles that ranges from country, to blues, to straight up rock and roll.
Whether it’s the unassailable blues-rock throwback “Cold Day In Hell”, the sentimental acoustic guitar ballad “Ask Me Yesterday”, or heavy hitting “It’s Not Enough”, Tom masterfully embraces each musical genre with sheer excellence, and never ceases to come out on the winning side. The entire album is moderately fast paced, which allows you to easily become set into the groove of such guitar dominated songs as “Mood Elevator” and “Ain’t That A Bitch”, the latter of which is built around a striking Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque guitar riff.
Tom also seems to consciously embrace the Aerosmith-side of his songwriting, through such new captivating power ballads as “Thick and Thin” and “You Showed Me”, which both showcase elaborate piano playing and some powerful-as-ever vocal work.
No matter where you put the needle on ‘The Way Life Goes’, the entire album is downright fantastic. From the opening lick to “Solid Ground”, to the final mind haunting group chorus of “Babylon Life”, Tom Keifer gives a continuously electrifying performance, and your hand never once remotely drifts towards the skip button. What more can I say, except welcome back, Tom. We’ve missed you.