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Tom Keifer - 'The Way Life Goes' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/61/09/a0/TomKeifer-24-1373570316.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     July 11, 2013    
 
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Keifer has made the transition from band-leader to solo artist with ease.

An album over a decade in the making, the debut solo offering from Cinderella front-man Tom Keifer is actually his first recording since his bands ‘Still Climbing’ in 1994.  In that time, a number of vocal problems meant a series of operations to cure partially paralyzed vocal cords, and Keifer was forced to learn how to sing again, and it’s the story of perseverance and the ensuing roller-coaster ride of emotions that followed are at the heart of this excellent album.

Opener ‘Solid Ground’ erupts into life with a trademark Keifer scream as a statement of intent, clearly demonstrating that his vocal problems are well and truly behind him.  He is singing better than ever, and has even found a new, softer side to his voice, as exhibited on the descriptively-titled ‘A Different Light’, while even effortlessly reaching some falsetto notes. 

Musically, the album is a throwback to the Retro Classic Rock sound with the deep elements of Blues and Country that Cinderella first started exploring on the ‘Long Cold Winter’ album, so much so that it really feels like the true follow-up to ‘Heartbreak Station’.  It’s a healthy mix of up-tempo rockers and heartfelt ballads, clearly demonstrating Keifer’s versatility as a song-writer and guitarist in addition to his vocal talents, and probably his most complete and cohesive set of songs to date, with a vibe and earthiness that bring to mind The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith throughout the 14 tracks on offer. Just listen to the swirling organ and tasty guitar licks on ‘Ain’t That A Bitch’, the sleazy crawl of ‘Fool’s Paradise’, the psychedelic-tinged ‘Welcome To My Mind’ or the funky grooves of the title-track for an example of the variety on offer.

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A cast of seasoned Nashville session musicians make up the backing band, the ever-reliable Jim Peterik is a co-writer, contributing to folk-tinged first single ‘The Flower Song’, the commercial rocker ‘Cold Day In Hell’ and the serene ballad ‘Ask Me Yesterday’, and Cinderella band-mate Jeff LaBar lends his guitar playing talents to the hardest rocking song on the album, ‘Mood Elevator’.  Tom’s wife Savannah, while earning co-writing credits and contributing background vocals throughout, is also an obvious source of inspiration for the quite beautiful ballads that are the cornerstones of the album, ‘You Showed Me’ and ‘Thick And Thin’ – the latter being to these ears Keifer’s finest work since ‘Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone)’.

‘The Way Life Goes’ is the epitome of what a good R’n’R record should be: well-crafted songs, great performances, heartfelt delivery, and a cool-as-fuck swagger.  Keifer has made the transition from band-leader to solo artist with ease. Welcome back.

Ant Heeks

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