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Tom Keifer Really Is Rock Royalty

If there is one single artist that emerged from the 1980s glam music scene that never ceases to amaze, it is Tom Keifer.  Artistically, he never seems content to settle, and throughout his career, it is clear to see how he has grown and changed musically.  He is a multi-talented musician, singer and showman.  For this reason, I think most of us were eagerly awaiting the release of his first ever solo album, "The Way Life Goes" earlier this year. Personally, I was a bit worried though... not about Tom and his ability to craft and record brilliant songs, but because this album took about 10 years to be recorded and released. I was afraid that it would suffer from "Chinese Democracy" Syndrome, meaning that over the years of waiting, expectations were built up so high that no matter how great the end product was, it could never live up to what we all had in our minds. However, when the beginning of the opening track "Solid Ground" really kicks in and Tom hits that amazing scream, all seems right with this album.

To be clear, this is NOT a Cinderella album, but that should not scare longtime fans of Tom from purchasing this album.  "The Way Life Goes" is a solid album of well written and produced songs. Personally, I am a huge fan of Tom's "clean" voice and and glad he uses it more on this release,  His grainy rock voice (more closely associated with the classic Cinderella tunes) is on the album too, but overall it is perfect blend of both styles. "Thick and Thin" has to be one of my favorite tracks, and it is perfectly followed up by "Ask Me Yesterday."  "The Flower Song" and "Cold Day In Hell" are also both stand out tracks. However, in my humble opinion, "Solid Ground" is, by far, the strongest track on the album and is a near perfect song.


The kicker is I was lucky enough to get one of the tour dates in my area, and was able to see Tom perform in support of this album. The show took place at the Palace Theater in Stafford Springs, CT (by far the best venue to open in the area in ages... big stage, great sound, friendly staff, reasonable prices). John Corabi opened the show playing some acoustic songs and did a fine job. He is funny, personable and extremely talented.  Unfortunately for Corabi, his set was completely overshadowed when Tom Keifer and his band took the stage. I have seen Cinderella many times in the past (they are one of the bands I'll actually travel to see, as I never leave a show disappointed), but Tom seems to have a renewed energy playing the new songs with the new band.  He seems entirely comfortable in his new skin, and it was apparent on stage, from his energy level to the smile that was present most of the night. Sure he played some Cinderella classics (he is no dummy and knows that everyone wants to hear them), but he added twists to many of them and had his wife join him on vocals on others. But he also played a number of songs off the new album and a cover or two as well. Tom was smiling and telling stories, and seemed genuinely appreciative of the fact that so many people were there supporting him that night.  I imagine, as much as he must love Cinderella, playing the same songs for so many years must get tiresome at times. This project seems to have awoken something up inside Tom, which is evident both live and listening to "The Way Life Goes."  I bought the album immediately upon its release and still play it regularly to this day, and if the tour comes within two hours of my home again, rest assured I will be there singing along. 
To this day, Tom Keifer still has never let me down.



Reader Comments (11)

I also bought the album and really like it a lot. We saw him in Baltimore and he really rocked the house. It was neat seeing him in a different mode. He was relaxed and it was more intimate.
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Totally agree, Tom and Cinderella are on my short list of bands I will spend the money on and go and see.
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDarktown
great review...and quite spot on. I believe this album should be nominated (and win) a grammy. It is solid; through and through...and even far surpasses the other album we had been awaiting; a different kind of truth. I am certain that Tom appreciates your (and our) comments.
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
Tom's solo CD is a pretty good record. He wears his influences on his sleeve, with a couple of tunes almost being straight cover versions of the Faces classics he obviously grew up on. But his versions are brilliant lyrical works of art in their own right.

I don't know if Brian Carvell was aware of it or not, but one of the reasons this record was so long in the making, is that Tom literally had to stop singing, or even talking for over a year, due to the damage he's done to his vocal chords by "singing wrong" for so many years. Which is another reason why his voice is cleaner & clearer on this record. That gravelly growl from the "Shake Me" era may sound awful cool, but it's incredibly damaging to the larynx.

Congratulations to Tom for making such a great record, on his own terms, & being able to find a new voice, his true voice... in more ways than one.
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I have this CD too and I agree, it is awesome, and well worth the wait. Cinderella DID disappoint the first time I saw them, but it was when Tom had his vocal issues, so that's understandable. Good for him to over come that and still be soldiering on.
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
tom is one of the few that has never dissapointed me what ive heard of his new cd is pretty great
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdj
Great topic and insightful observations, Brian C. great to see you back. Your return is yet another example of what it means to Bring Back Glam!

Indeed, this is fantastic stuff. Keifer is incredible, both in the studio or live, either in or out of Cinderella. I only wish I could catch him solo, just haven't had the opportunity/bucks to fly in as he hasn't forrayed to my redneck of the woods.

But I will be catchin' him with Cinderella on The Monsters of Rock Cruise in March 2014. Probably not in the cards but it would be cool to see him do an acoustic set solo in one of the lounges a la Corabi, who always does an acoustic set on the cruise.

But you never know with him, it seems. Maybe he'll pull a fast one at the last minute and add that into the mix as we approach embarkation.

Also, as I've mentioned previously here, I met him, albeit briefly, in the cafeteria, waiting for his burger. He was approachable, tuned into what I had to tell him and genuinely appreciative of my words. In fact, he grabbed my hand in that classic brotherly "Soul Shake", pulling it to his heart, looked me in the eye (I could tell through his "Jackie O" Foster Grants) and said, "Thanks!"

And that is because he could tell that I meant what I said when I uttered to him these four words:

"You are a legend."
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
BTW, great inside info, Ace, as usual!
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Yeah, it a great album, and he put on a great show here in upstate NY a couple months ago.
August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJack
IMHO, he's the best "songwriter" to come out of the era. Maybe not lyrically (although I honestly can't think of anyone better off of the top of my head),but the dude can flat out write catchy riffs with the best of them.Couple that with the ability to proficiently play guitar,piano,saxophone,harmonica (and lord knows what else),and you've also got arguably the most well rounded musician from the era.Im so glad he's back on the horse so to speak. Who knows.Maybe a new Cindy album will follow,now that he's got the juices flowing again?
August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary
You're right on ALL counts, Gary! Thing is, why doesn't he mix up the Cinderella set list? They never play one of my faves of their catalog, "The Last Mile", for example.

And, obviously, we are not alone in our desire to hear a new Cinderella album. I was talking to Eric Brittingham on The Monsters of Rock Cruise and he was telling me he really wants to go back in the studio. Kiefer was on "That Metal Show" saying it is legal reasons why Cinderella has not put out a new album in all this time.

What gives? I wonder if Ace has the dirt or can get it.
August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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