Tom Keifer – The Way Life Goes
2013, Merovee Records
1. “Solid Ground”
2. “A Different Light”
3. “It’s Not Enough”
4. “Cold Day In Hell”
5. “Thick And Thin”
6. “Ask Me Yesterday”
7. “Fools Paradise”
8. “The Flower Song”
9. “Mood Elevator”
10. “Welcome To My Mind”
11. “You Showed Me”
12. “Ain’t That A Bitch”
13. “The Way Life Goes”
Tom Keifer – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard, Slide Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Greg Morrow – Drums, Percussion
Tony Harrell – Piano, B3, Wurlitzer, Clavinet
Producer: Tom Keifer, Savannah Keifer and Chuck Turner
The Way Life Goes is the first effort from Cinderella front-man Tom Keifer that has been in progress for the past 10 years or more (slowed down by Tom voice problems and occasional touring with Cinderella). Truthfully, you can’t really tell that this album is a collection of songs written & recorded over the last 10 years because Tom doesn’t play to trends with any of these songs. The album is a mix of what you’d expect from Tom Keifer: ballads, blues, country and rock. Even if there’s not as many uptempo or hard rockers as you would get with Cinderella, this album is not too far off from that band. If you told me this was the follow-up to 1994’s Still Climbing, I’d believe you and I’d be completely okay with that.
Tom’s voice is so recognizable, it’s really to imagine that these aren’t Cinderella songs. “The Flower Song” is my favorite ballad from the album and it sounds like something off of Heartbreak Station.”Solid Ground” is the hardest rocking song here (and great opener) where we get to hear Tom wail again and this could’ve easily found a place on Long Cold Winter. “It’s Not Enough” and “Cold Day in Hell” are also fantastic rockers. “Mood Elevator” is yet another rocker and there’s an appearance by another Cinderella member — guitarist Jeff LaBar lends a hand.
Meanwhile, “Ain’t That a Bitch” has a Tom Petty vibe and “The Way Life Goes” seems to have some ’80s Aerosmith moments with the sax and “Welcome to My Mind” is the darkest and most modern sounding song on the album. There’s also a few other songs on here that could probably make it to country radio with the right marketing. “Ask Me Yesterday” is the strongest example of this.
There is only one miscalculation on the record and that’s “A Different Light”. Looking at other reviews, I seem to be the only person that isn’t totally sold on this one. I just don’t care for the falsetto style that Tom is using here throughout the song or the poppy production of the song itself. That said, much like the rest of the album, this song has become stuck in my head at various points after listening to this album. It’s not a terrible song but it’s the weakest of the bunch and was kind of a head-scratcher for me when I first heard it.
Ultimately, I highly recommend this album to fans of Cinderella but keep in mind that The Way Life Goes is not a hard rock album through-and-through or a hair-metal throwback. The bluesy/country elements of Cinderella are here, but this is simply a rock album with a lot of soul.
Highlights: “Solid Ground”, “It’s Not Enough”, “Cold Day In Hell”, “Ask Me Yesterday”, “Fools Paradise”, “The Flower Song”, “Ain’t That a Bitch”, “Babylon”