Duff McKagan


Reviewed by Alex Alicia Media

For The Midlands Rocks
Released by Universal Music Enterprises, 31 May 2019


Channelling all of his hurt, emotions and love from decades of life on the road, Guns N’ Roses bassist, Duff McKagan, brings us his third solo album, produced in a totally unexpected new musical direction by behind the scenes country star, Shooter Jennings.

Tenderness is an apparent combination of McKagan’s struggles with rock n’ roll, facing the death of his close friend and former Velvet Revolver bandmate, the late, great Scott Weiland and heartbreak.

Lyrically, this album speaks volumes as Duff appears to be a much more mature artist, whilst still allowing us to hear some of that punk edge we all know and love. Much like in the ending of standout track ‘Last September’ which starts out quaint and soft, despite the contrast of the lyrical content, then building nicely into a raspier vocal from McKagan suggesting a growing rage as he tries to come to terms with his musical past right in front of us.

This somewhat sad and emotional new release was the first since his recent GN’R comeback and is a total change of tune from his usual glam metal/hard rock comparison. This time McKagan fans get to know a softer side to the bassist through country and folk inspired tracks. Featuring; soft twangs of acoustic guitars, pedal steel, a saxophone solo featured in ‘Don’t Look behind you’ and subtle heart like drum beats accompanied with beautiful word play throughout. Tenderness has a natural progression, starting with the softer and less offensive tunes followed by the looming path of darkness and hate, well written in an equally quirky and catchy way.

Track, Breaking Rocks, is brilliantly country! Whilst ‘Wasted Heart’ is a closer look at Duff’s capabilities to create an AOR ballad much like ‘Patience’ from the GN’R Lies days.

Duff bares all in this cool new album and uses it to explore himself before his friends, family and fans. This album, in tandem with the modern music of today, could mean that we have reached a pinnacle turning point in rock. With this new release, McKagan, intentional or not, brings the rock world into a new era of current singer/songwriters and modernises the country rock scene.

It goes without saying, this isn’t an album that McKagan wanted to write this is an album he most certainly had to write.

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Alex Alicia Media


Track List:

  1. Tenderness
  2. It’s Not Too Late
  3. Wasted Heart
  4. Falling Down
  5. Last September
  6. Chip Away
  7. Cold Outside
  8. Feel
  9. Breaking Rocks
  10. Parkland
  11. Don’t Look Behind You