Tom Keifer has sold over 15 million records as the lead singer of Cinderella, but it’s been nearly two decades since their last bluesy /rock album ‘Still Climbing’ was released and disappeared almost without a trace amidst the rise of Grunge, Nirvana and lumberjack shirts.
Much like punk washed away the indulgence of prog-rock in the 70’s, the Seattle bands made some of the glammed-up’ posturing of the ‘hair-metal’ bands look rather silly virtually overnight. As a result the major record labels dropped anything wearing a bangle like a hot scotch egg.
Cinderella, were actually a different proposition, although caught up in the glam-rock scene by association, their music was always more Rolling Stones and AC/DC than Poison, and in Tom Keifer had a proper song-writer with a keen ear for a hook-line and a love of the rock n’ roll and blues.
Tom was talking about writing this record in 1995, so ‘The Way Life Goes’ hasn’t exactly been rushed out. Good news! It’s been well worth the wait. Such is the quality throughout it feels like Tom has spent the time writing six albums, but instead of releasing them just picked the best tracks and released those. From start to finish ‘The Way Life Goes’ sounds just like a ‘Greatest Hits’ record.
As soon as I heard the opening chords of ‘Solid Ground’ (below) and it’s gospel-flavored back-up vocals I was back in my teenage bedroom. Track two ‘Different Light’ has a chorus that is pure sing-along and yes, this could be the record to make the power ballad cool again. It has at least three, my favourite being ‘Ask Me Yesterday’, an honest and heartfelt country tinged take on self doubt and growing up. There are shades of The Stones, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith and if any of these had released this album it would be their best album for decades.
I’m suspicious of people who can review record after record, if I like an album I listen to it for weeks, months, years.. there is only so much time you can listen to music over the course of a day, how can you like a record so much and then listen to something else the next day (and the next)?
Tom Keifer’s ‘The Way Life Goes’ has been on my stereo for the last three weeks and will be there for a good while yet. Not everyone will like it, and I’m not sure if it is cool or not (who cares?), but if you are a fan of Cinderella or rock n’roll or any of the previously mentioned bands you will love this record. Let’s hope he tours the UK soon and doesn’t tale as long to do the next one.
For more info visit www.tomkeifer.com and look out for an interview with Tom in the next edition of Flush Magazine