Jerry Cantrell – Still Have the Time to Sing My Song

My Song - Jerry Cantrell

Whether it was the dissolution of a romantic relationship, the financial ruin he faced, or the loss of close friends to the trap of addiction and overdoses, Jerry Cantrell has endured adversity throughout most of his musical career. A part of his dream was sacrificed to waiting as his musical partner Layne Staley repeatedly recovered from and relapsed into his fatal dance with heroin addiction. Long unproductive periods of time floated by while Cantrell, at the height of his artistic capacities as the leader of Alice In Chains, was kept in a holding pattern and, to a great extent, denied the realization of his full potential. For that reason there is an aura surrounding his journey as a songwriter. Staley’s addiction involuntarily became part of Cantrell’s legacy. Much of his body of deeply moving work has been cheaply and unfairly interpreted as reflection on Staley’s addiction and death. He was clearly never given the freedom to consistently create without the distractions of constant outside disturbances. Even while recording his solo project, Degradation Trip, he was dropped cold by the unappreciative management of Columbia Records who had feasted on his success with AIC but no longer found him as marketable, forcing him to mortgage his home to complete the album. He commented on that period, “It was very strange for me, because my experience in this business has been with one band and one label. The last couple years I was not only on my own making a record of the magnitude that I committed myself to, but I was having to deal with being like a brand new artist going around to all these different labels and meeting with them and hearing the same things over and over: ‘Yeah, we love it. We love you,’ and then have nothing happen. It was a little disheartening after a while.” But the misfortunes and sadness must be put in perspective to truly appreciate the art of Jerry Cantrell. As he makes evident in “My Song” from 1998’s release Boggy Depot, regardless of the hardship his soul has been handed by life he still has “the time to sing my song.” His dedication, his soul driven goal to create music, has not only given him tremendous inner strength but has also served as a haven, a place of immunity from the heartache, greed and intolerance of the outside world.

“She won’t tell me liesjerry cantrell
She want to see me smile, yeah
Every time you let it show I didn’t want to know
By the time I had lost my soul you had to go
She come, in disguise
I want to say goodbye, yeah
Every time I let it show you didn’t want to know
By the time I had lost my soul you had to go..You had to go
Love’s strong, mine gone
Still have the time to sing my song
Love’s strong, mine gone
Still have the time to sing my song
Still have the time to sing my song
Still have the time to sing my song
She got her own way
Same as yesterday, yeah
Every time you let it show
I didn’t want to know
By the time I had sold my soul
You had to go..You had to go
Love’s strong, mine gone
Still have the time to sing my song
Still have the time to sing my song
Love’s strong, mine gone
Still have the time to sing my song
Still have the time to sing my song
Still not a crime to sing my song”