Myles Kennedy’s highly anticipated solo album, Year of the Tiger is due for release on March 9 by Napalm Records.
Myles Kennedy‘s fans have been waiting for some time for this album. For seven years Myles had worked on what would be his first solo effort, only to decide that by the time it was done, it was maybe no longer relevant in the current day. Going back to the drawing board, he found inspiration and wrote 20 songs in short order. He then whittled this down to 12 songs which became Year of the Tiger.
The album predominantly focuses on the loss of his father, who passed away when Myles was a mere 4 years old (in the year of the tiger). His family were Christian Scientists, which meant that when his father became sick with appendicitis, he didn’t seek medical attention and, unfortunately, passed away. Understandably this had a devastating effect on Kennedy, his brother, and mother.
As difficult as it must have been to go back to that time and face these memories and issues head-on, Kennedy has channeled the pain and emotion into his work, and the result is a very honest and heartfelt body of work. Year of the Tiger is a concept album, with a story arc which traces the lives of him and his family from the death of his father and through the subsequent aftermath.
Most people know of Myles from his work with Alter Bridge and Slash and the Conspirators, however, this album is a step away from the hard rock electric guitars and falsetto screams of that world, concentrating more on an acoustic stripped back sound with blues and Americana vibes throughout. Whilst the album may have a different to sound to that which we have come to know Kennedy for, his unique voice is very much front and center throughout. Whilst his impressive range is demonstrated in places, on this album Kennedy is more focused on using his voice to convey the deep feelings inherent in these tracks.
As well as playing guitar on this album, Kennedy also plays banjo, lap steel, bass, and mandolin all with his typical proficiency. He is joined by Zia Uddin (from Mayfield Four) on drums and Tim Tournier on bass. Kennedy’s longtime producer and friend Michael “Elvis” Baskette has worked with him on this album and they have taken a stripped back approach to the recording process, recording straight to tape which lends more of a raw feel to proceedings typical of early blues and folk albums.
So far, two songs have been released from the upcoming album, the title track and “Haunted By Design,” both of which have received a lot of praise from fans and critics alike. The song, “Year of the Tiger” has a hook that you can’t help but hear in your head all day. The Led Zeppelin influence on this one is clear with mandolin playing throughout the track.
“Ghost of Shangri La” begins with a hypnotic guitar intro before it goes on to discuss the “thieves outside the window” which refers to Kennedy’s house was broken into within a few weeks of his father’s passing, which ultimately led to his mother’s decision to move them west to start afresh.
“Blind Faith” and “Nothing But A Name” both have a similar message to them, questioning his father’s belief that his faith alone would save him from the illness, and detailing the consequences of this belief (effectively – leaving his family behind). They both have a very open letter feel to them as if Kennedy is taking this opportunity to address his father directly.
Whilst the majority of the album sticks to the stripped back acoustic approach, “The Great Beyond” has a slightly different feel to the rest of the album, in that it has an epic feel to it, with a huge crashing crescendo.
This is an honest album and one that should definitely satiate his fans’ appetite for solo work from the prodigiously talented frontman. Whilst a number of influences shine through, Kennedy probably summed it up best in a recent interview when asked what the album sounded like – his answer was “it sounds like Myles Kennedy.” That is definitely the case – and, it has to be said that Myles Kennedy sounds pretty good!
Year of the Tiger is due for release on Napalm Records on March 9, and you can preorder your copy here. Tickets have just gone on sale for his US tour dates, so make sure to get them while you can.
1. Year of the Tiger
2. The Great Beyond
3. Blind Faith
4. Devil on the Wall
5. Ghost of Shangri La
6. Turning Stones
7. Haunted by Design
9. Nothing But a Name
10. Love Can Only Heal
12. One Fine Day