By Greg Fristick
Throughout the history of music, there are certain vocalists that have a distinguishable and irreplaceable voice. For example, there are the Bruce Dickinson’s, Stephen Pearcy’s, or Rob Halford’s of the world. Sure, other vocalists have filled their shoes, but none of their temporary replacements met the expectations of their predecessors. Another one of those distinguishable voices is none other than Tom Keifer. Best known for his time in Cinderella, Keifer’s raspy voice is one that stands out whenever you hear it. He could have never been replaced.
After releasing 4 albums with Cinderella between 1986 and 1994 and selling over 7 million records in the US alone, the popularity of music from the top artists of the 1980’s took a huge hit with the introduction of Seattle’s Grunge Movement. Cinderella was one of those victims. After a brief hiatus, Cinderella regrouped in 1996 and toured off and on until 2014. However, they never released another album after 1994’s “Still Climbing.” The band officially called it quits in 2017.
On to Tom Keifer. “Rise” is the second solo album from Keifer, and is the follow-up to “The Way Life Goes” (2013). “Rise” is a straightforward, bluesy-oriented rock album. It is a great mix of blues, soulful ballads, and rocking tracks.
The album kicks off with some slide guitar and a whole lot of blues rock on “Touching the Divine.” This song has a killer groove and will make you want to get up and move. Lead single, “The Death of Me” is a hard rocking track, and packs a serious punch. The song details the trials and tribulations of several throat surgeries, lawsuits, and other health issues that Keifer has had to overcome. You can check out the music video for the track HERE
A recording involving Tom Keifer just wouldn’t be right if a ballad or 4 weren’t included. “Waiting on the Demons” is simply an acoustic masterpiece. Tom’s voice and acoustic guitar work are all that is needed to make this song a hit. “Hype” is a hard rocking, melodic track. Snare hits break through throughout the song, along with subtle bass runs and a slide solo. More slide guitar kicks off “Untitled.” This mid-tempo track is bluesy oriented but is hard rocking at the same time. A steady rhythm keeps this track going and the bass tones are the icing on the cake.
Next up is the title track, and second single “Rise.” This is a definite flashback to the 80’s. Second single equals power ballad, right!? Beautifully arranged piano accompanies “Rise.” Keifer’s voice is stronger than ever on this track, and if it were 1988, this would be a number 1 single. Kendra Chantelle, as well as Tom’s wife, Savannah, once again backs up Keifer vocally on this powerful ballad. The video for “Rise” can be found HERE
Now that we’re half way through the album, it’s time to get “All Amped Up.” The song kicks off the second half of the album and does just that. This is probably the hardest rocking song on the album. “Breaking Down” starts subtly, and just when you think it’s another Tom Keifer power ballad, the band picks up the pace with a mid-tempo rocker. Way to switch it up guys and gals.
“Taste for the Pain” is yet another soulful ballad and again features amazing piano work and more amazing backup vocals from Savannah Keifer and Kendra Chantelle. Tom Keifer could record an entire album of ballads and I wouldn’t be disappointed. Next up is another hard rocking track. “Life Was Here” rocks hard from start to finish.
Closing out Rise is the acoustic track “You Believe In Me.” This is a beautifully written piece and one of my favorites from the album. Tom, your master plan is working and you might just be Superman after overcoming so much adversity. I think that I can speak for all of your fans and say “We all believe in you, Tom.”
Tom Keifer Band
Tom Keifer- Vocals, Guitar, Keys
Savannah Keifer- Vocals, Percussion, Piano
Tony Higbee- Guitar, Vocals
Billy Mercer- Bass guitar, Vocals
Kendra Chantelle- Vocals, Percussion
Jarred Pope- Drums, Vocals
Kory Myers- Keyboards, Vocals
Touching the Divine
The Death of Me
Waiting on the Demons
All Amped Up
Taste for the Pain
Life Was Here
You Believe in Me
Rise was released on Cleopatra Records on September 13, 2019 and can be ordered HERE