Released in 1998, Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains made his solo debut. It features Jerry Cantrell on lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, clavinet, organ, piano, and the steel drums. Other musicians such as Alice in Chains band mates Sean Kinney on drums and Mike Inez on bass were featured on the album, although Kinney drummed throughout the entire album. The album also features Les Claypool, Rex Brown and John Norwood on bass, splitting up that position on various songs.
This record sets the stage for Jerry Cantrell, although, he would’ve preferred to have recorded this as an Alice In Chains record. But with Layne Staley in ill health, Alice In Chains had to be put on hold. So what could Jerry Cantrell do? Try and take a stab at being a solo artist.
Musically, this album sounds very much like an Alice In Chains album, but with various bass players on the record, brings in some new influences to Jerry’s music. The album still retains that classic vocal harmony that was so great in Alice In Chains. Three songs on the album, “Cut You In”, “Jesus Hands”, and “Devil by His Side” feature all of the members of Alice In Chains members minus lead singer Layne Staley. These three songs are Alice In Chains and is why many consider this solo album to be the lost Alice In Chains record.
With that being said, this album features many new influences one would not hear on an Alice in Chains record. This to me allows Jerry Cantrell to be noticed as solo artist rather than just a guitarist with another band. Now let’s stop comparing this to Alice In Chains and focus on the artist. Jerry is a very talented songwriter and musician. There are many great guitar riffs on this album as well as guitar solos. With regards to Jerry’s vocal work he is very strong. Song structures are more drawn out and the album features many different tempo speeds.
Each musician that has worked on the album is very talented and each contributes something different. I like the fact that bassist Rex Brown from Pantera and Down plays on the majority of the songs. I also, like that Primus bassist Les Claypool contributes to “Between” and “Cold Piece”.
Bottom line is, what we have here is Jerry Cantrell doing his best at moving forward. Although, with Alice In Chains looming in the balance, hard decisions had to be made and it was a decision that I personally think paid off. To me, this shows where Jerry Cantrell has been as well as where he’s going from here which bridges the gap to the new formation of Alice In Chains.
1. “Dickeye” 5:07
2. “Cut You In” 3:23
3. “My Song” 4:07
4. “Settling Down” 6:12
5. “Breaks My Back” 7:07
6. “Jesus Hands” 5:37
7. “Devil by His Side” 4:50
8. “Keep the Light on” 4:49
9. “Satisfy” 3:35
10. “Hurt a Long Time” 5:41
11. “Between” 3:37
12. “Cold Piece” 8:29