Duff McKagan – Tenderness (2019)

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There is a lot more to Duff McKagan than people might realise.  You might know him as the bass player for Guns N Roses, some might know him from his excellent side project, Loaded, but here on Tenderness, Duff shows a totally different side of himself, and the results are perfect.

Opening with the piano and acoustic guitar driven title track, Duff really puts himself out there, wearing his heart on his sleeve.  Some might call this a risk for a known hard rocker, but in my opinion, this is an artist who is comfortable enough to share this other side of himself.  Kudos to Duff.

It’s Not Too Late is a country song.  No doubt about it, and no surprises either, considering that Shooter Jennings (son of legendary outlaw country icon, Waylon) was heavily involved in all aspects of the album.  Wasted Heart continues down the acoustic/country path of the previous songs, but Duffs vocals add just a hint of punk rock vibe.

As I write this, I’m drinking a beer (actually several beers) and I can’t help but think that this is the perfect album to accompany an afternoon of quiet beer consumption.  Falling Down and Last September stick to the country vibes, and while I want a new Gunners album, and definitely some new Loaded material (The Taking was fucking phenomenal) I can’t help but think that I’d be happy if Duff settles into this style.  It really works for him, and if this is the direction that his career continues in from here, I’m totally ok with it.

Chip Away and Cold Outside both offer personal insights into the life of Duff McKagan, much like all of the tracks on Tenderness.  I love it a lot.  The songwriting is fantastic, the music complements the lyrical content beautifully, and Duffs voice is weathered and aged, which again suits the style.

Feel is more of the same, and I don’t say that in a bad way.  Everything here, is exactly as it needs to be.  Breaking Rocks is tender, Parkland is a little angrier, but only in the delivery.

Tenderness finishes up with Don’t Look Behind You, and I am completely satisfied with everything I’ve heard.  Duff McKagan has a definite knack for singer/songwriter style country infused music, and I’d be happy to hear more of it.

9/10

Review by Shayne McGowan

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