Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell has released a video for Atone, the opening track of his upcoming third solo album Brighten. The album is released on October 29.
Atone finds Cantrell at his widescreen, atmospheric best, with ominous melodies creating a sense of creeping dread before an illuminated climax arrives to ride out the song's final moments.
“As a fan of Ennio Morricone scores and Sergio Leone movies, it’s got a bit of that outlaw vibe, with a cool psycho hillbilly stomp,” says Cantrell. “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."
Brighten was recorded with film composer Tyler Bates (300, John Wick) and long-time engineer Paul Fig, alongside a cast of musicians including Guns N' Roses' bassist Duff McKagan, former Dillinger Escape Plan singer Greg Puciato on backing vocals, former Dillinger Escape Plan and Marilyn Manson drummer Gil Sharone, Paul McCartney drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr., pedal steel guitarist Michael Rozon, and Vincent Jones on piano, Wurlitzer, and organ.
“I’ve been in the band for almost 34 years now,” says Cantrell. “It’s always my first and foremost commitment, but it’s nice to explore different things and add another chapter to a growing body of work. After the last AIC tour wrapped, I geared my mind towards the possibility of making another record of my own.
“It was like an old school ‘70s record where a multitude of musicians played. 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.”
The seeds of Brighten were sewn when Cantrell played a pair of solo shows at the Pico Union Project in Los Angeles in December 2019 alongside Bates, Puciato and Sharone.
“It was fun to play tunes I hadn’t performed in years from Boggy Depot and Degradation Trip [his first two solo albums],” says Cantrell. “Tyler Bates not only introduced me to a lot of cool players, he also helped me put the band together for the shows, and performed with me."
The album climaxes with a cover of Elton John's Goodbye. "Madman Across The Water is one of my favourite records of all time,” explains Cantrell. "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 [the title track of Alice In Chains' fourth album], 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!"
Brighten will be available as an exclusive bone coloured with gold splatter 180-gram vinyl edition via the Jerry Cantrell webstore (opens in new tab). They'll also be stocking a limited edition blood red vinyl 12" single of Atone that includes a red flexi disc, a red pick set, and an instant download of the song.
Jerry Cantrell - Brighten tracklist
Prism of Doubt
Black Hearts and Evil Done
Had To Know
Nobody Breaks You