While it's been 18 years since Jerry Cantrell's last solo opus Degradation Trip, he's certainly not been slacking – bringing back Alice In Chains to acclaim with four studio albums and world tours. Now he's returning to that side of his career with the new solo album Atone on 29 October, but bringing plenty of friends along for the ride too.
You can hear the first song from the nine-track album above. Atone is definitely going to ring true for fans of AIC – dark and brooding just as we like it from the man we call the Grunge Gilmour around these parts. And this one has been brewing on his songwriting stove for a long time.
“As a fan of Ennio Morricone scores and Sergio Leone movies, ,” he explains. “It’s been kicking around in my head for like 20-plus years, haunting me. Sometimes it takes a while for a good idea to find its best form. Such was the case with Atone.”
The album features a very impressive cast of musicians. Alongside old friend and Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan are former Dillinger Escape Plan members; vocalist Greg Puciato and drummer Gil Sharone, alongside fellow drummer Abe Laboriel Jr, Tyler Bates (co-production with Cantrell / strings / percussion / guitar), Vincent Jones (piano, keys, & strings), Jordan Lewis (piano), Michael Rozon (pedal steel), Lola Bates (background vocals) and Matias Ambrogi-Torres (strings). Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age) mixed the record.
“It was like an old school ‘70s record where a multitude of musicians played,” notes Cantrell, who worked with Faith No More's Mike Bordin and Metallica's Rob Trujillo on 2002's Degradation Trip. “So it’s not a set band. I got to make music with a bunch of people I never had before, along with friends like Duff, Tyler and Gil who I’ve worked with previously.”
While eight of the songs are Cantrell originals, the closing track Goodbye is a cover of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's 1971 song. And Cantrell even got the blessing from the man himself.
“’Madman Across The Water’ is one of my favourite records of all time,” Cantrell says of the icon's fourth album. “Out of respect to Elton, I wouldn’t include it unless he said it was okay. He’d played piano on Black Gives Way To Blue, which I wrote for Layne, so I reached out to Elton, he listened to it, and told me “You should absolutely use it.” I got the signoff by the man himself. I couldn’t think of a better way to close the record!”
For preorders head to jerrycantrell.com