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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Higher Truth' [Deluxe Edition]
Artist - Chris Cornell

Produced by Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Neil Young), Higher Truth is multiple Grammy® Award-winning, Golden Globe Nominated and acclaimed singer/songwriter Chris Cornell's fifth solo studio album to date.

In truth, Cornell, one of rock's greatest singers from the past 25 years, has had a hit-or-miss solo career. While he has released a number of classic albums with Soundgarden, and a few very good ones with Audioslave, his solo work - to my mind - has always been a wee bit, well, questionable. But here on Higher Truth, Cornell's constant evolution as a master songwriter, lyricist and musical craftsman, telling human stories which transcend musical genres, puts him squarely back on top of his game, for sure.

The album kicks off with 'Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart,' a track that took me by complete surprise, to be quite honest! We all know Cornell from his deep, dark, downward vocal tones on everything Soundgarden ever released, but this is something new, something delightfully fresh. Yes, yes, I know he's done other solo/acoustic albums, but this one, this truly beautifully sculptured release is a new level of achievement for Cornell (in my humble opinion, of course). The aforementioned album opener begins with some gentle mandolin work, gradually adding fuzzy guitars and percussion, before Cornell's raspy, but not full throttle vocals take control.

Playful acoustic guitar picking leads us next into the grower, 'Dead Wishes,' which in turn is followed by the pop lite breeze of 'Worried Moon' and then an ethereal piano leads us into the ballad, 'Before We Disappear.' Channeling Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant en mass, Cornell's incredible multi-octave vocals come to the fore on 'Through The Window,' another ballad track that just showcases the lyrically depth of effort put into Higher Truth. That's backed by some structured acoustic guitar work on the bare bones 'Josephine,' while the steadier 'Murderer Of Blue Skies,' a rather bleak song about personal heartbreak, contains yet another stunning guitar solo.

The title track is next, and is back to more the sound we used to associate with Cornell, albeit it on the lesser screamed levels still, of course. The guitar jangling track is then followed by the gentle strumming of the erstwhile 'Let Your Eyes Wander,' whilst the beautiful acoustic tale about his young daughters, 'Only These Words' is, simply put, a stunner of a track. 'Circling' is a depressing look at a life with (seemingly) no hope, the "circling of the drain" imagery at the fore, and then the regular version of this album comes to a close with the rockier anthem, 'Our Time In The Universe.'

Cornell's new solo album, coming on the heels of his 2011 acoustic collection Songbook, continues onward (in this wonderful Deluxe Edition version) with 'Bend In The Road,' a track that falls somewhere between rock and folk very easily. That strong sense of songwriting, inspired by the stark arrangements of musicians like Nick Drake, Daniel Johnston and such, is also contained on the early Springsteen-esque 'Wrong Side.' Twanging guitar, slow drums, harmonica, and Cornell's dirty, dusty vocals make this pure Americana folk rock at its new age finest. 'Misery Chain' is next, and then the extended version of this album is rounded out by the underscored Middle Eastern vibes of 'Our Time In The Universe (Remix).'

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

Chris Cornell - 2015 Solo/Acoustic Tour Dates:
9/23/15 Santa Barbara, Ca Granada Theatre
9/24/15 Santa Rosa, CA Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
9/26/15 Oakland, CA Paramount Theater
9/27/15 Modesto, CA Gallo Center for the Arts
9/29/15 Seattle, WA Benaroya Hall
9/30/15 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theatre
10/2/15 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
10/3/15 Salina, KS Stifel Theatre for the Performing Arts
10/5/15 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
10/6/15 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
10/8/15 Lakewood, OH Lakewood Civic Auditorium
10/9/15 Toronto, ON Massey Hall
10/11/15 Buffalo, NY University at Buffalo Ctr for the Arts
10/12/15 New Brunswick, NJ State Theatre
10/14/15 N. Bethesda, MD Strathmore Music Theatre
10/15/15 Philadelphia, PA Merriam Theater
10/17/15 Wilkes Barre, PA Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
10/18/15 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
10/19/15 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
10/21/15 Boston, MA Shubert Theater
10/23/15 Wilmington, DE Grand Opera House
10/24/15 York, PA Strand Capitol Perf. Arts Ctr
10/26/15 Atlanta, GA Atlanta Symphony Hall
10/27/15 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
10/29/15 Miami, FL The Knight Concert Hall
10/30/15 Saint Petersburg, FL Mahaffey Theater
11/1/15 Dallas, TX The Majestic Theatre
11/2/15 Austin, TX ACL Live @ The Moody Theater
11/4/15 Phoenix, AZ Orpheum Theatre