Jerry Cantrell’s Album “Brighten” is Here

And it’s finally here! Today marks the release of Jerry Cantrell’s solo album, Brighten;his first solitary effort since Degradation Trip Volumes I & II in 2002. We started working on the new album in fall of 2019. Alice in Chains had just wrapped up their Rainier Fog tour and Jerry got in touch and said, “I’m starting a solo record; let’s work on demos”.

We started work immediately. This involved a lot of time in Jerry’s home studio riff mining and teasing ideas into full songs. After several quick bouts of pre-production work, we got into the studio on March 5 of 2020. Between the 5th and the 8th, we tracked the drums then from the 9th to the 20th main electric and acoustic guitars at my studio Dave’s Room. Then Covid-19 messed up all our plans (along with the rest of the world’s).

Jerry and I decided we could stay safe if the two of us worked in his home studio, so we set up there for tracking vocals and our co-producer, Tyler Bates, would often swing by listen and explore ideas. Jerry is one of my very favorite artists to work with and Brighten is the fourth album we have recorded together. Needless to say, at this point we have a really effective creative process. Granted, the process includes making sure the cats aren’t meowing during a vocal performance, taste testing homemade salsa (not in the studio), and rolling dice, but when you hear the album, you’ll appreciate that all of these elements are important! 

So, Jerry and I, taking our time, spent close to four months recording lead vocals and harmonies, as well as guitar solos and “flavor” guitars that we missed in the studio. As the tone and feeling of the album started to take shape, Jerry knew he wanted to include a cover of Elton John’s Goodbye. Vince Jones arranged and performed the piano, keys, and strings and we recorded the song in November 2020. Jerry sent the rough mix to Sir Elton who replied that Jerry’s version was beautiful, giving his whole-hearted approval to include it on the album.

In addition to Vince Jones, we had several other incredibly talented artists contribute to this project including Duff McKagan, Gil Sharone, Abe Laboriel Jr., Michael Rozon, and Greg Puciato singing backups and harmonies. Once we were ready to mix, I suggested (Evil) Joe Barresi, who really brought the record to the next level.

I’m extremely proud of this album. It showcases a different side of Jerry’s songwriting skills and highlights his signature harmonies. The guitar tones we built, the way we captured the vocals, and really the overall SOUND of the record make it an outstanding album, and one of the best I have contributed to. 

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Lauren Monroe-Under the Wolf Moon

Sometimes I get asked to work on projects that aren’t my usual heavy or hard rock, or, psychedelic, garage or alternative; I always appreciate working with cool artists that are extremely talented creative songwriters – that’s what it’s all about. 

A while back, Jim Scott asked me to help him to work with someone he was producing. Of course, I always jump at the chance to work with Jim when I have the time. It’s a great opportunity to learn from one of the best in the industry. The artist was Lauren Monroe. I was immediately impressed with her voice and also came to admire her direction, conviction, and her creative songwriting.  Lauren’s sound is organic, classic sounding rock, with her powerful voice delivering insightful lyrics and the kind of beautiful melodies that I rarely get to witness.

Lauren Monroe released the “Big Love” EP in July of 2020 and a full LP “Under the Wolf Moon”in February 2021. If you have not heard her music, please give pour a glass of wine and pull up a comfy chair so that you can take a break from the grind and really listen.

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