The album had a long gestation period, seven years. The first solo album Myles Kennedy wrote he threw away, leading to a period of intense writing as Myles said he found himself “writing like a madman.” With over twenty songs written over a short period, he began to see a clear direction to take. Suddenly, “It became incredibly obvious what the source of inspiration needed to be lyrically driven,” he says. “I realized it was time to jump head-first into something I’ve been putting off for my whole life as a writer.” The result was a dozen tracks that shaped and created the solo album, Year of The Tiger, intensely personal. An album almost entirely focused on the loss of Kennedy’s father when the singer was just four years old. “My family was very involved in the Christian Science church,” he says. “So when he became ill, he chose not to seek medical attention and passed away a few months later. By all accounts, my father was a good, honest man, but I still struggle with the choices he made which ultimately led to his death.
Myles Kennedy, the voice out front with Alter Bridge, Slash’s band, and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators; here we focus on his other side that of singer/songwriter. Kennedy himself plays the banjo, lap steel, bass, and mandolin in addition to guitar on Year of the Tiger joined by drummer Zia Uddin and Tim Tournier on bass, along with longtime Alter Bridge producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette.
Opening Year of The Tiger, with the title track, sets down the focus and direction the album is taking as we step onboard a journey with Myles Kennedy. “I remember stumbling onto the melody and title of the song years ago. It stuck with me but I couldn’t seem to complete the concept until it dawned on me that 1974 was the Year Of The Tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac.” he says. “Once I realized that was the same year we lost my father, I knew where I needed to take the record lyrically. The song is really the preface for the entire story from my mother’s perspective. It’s a battle cry of resolution, to persevere under the circumstances we were enduring after dad passed away.”
The opening track is no maudlin funeral growl. It is affirmative full of love and the pain we feel when losing someone close. It is looking beyond the pain and moving on. The vocals delivered with personal emotion and melodic beats that drive the song on with a burning energy. The result of his father’s death led to the family being uprooted from Boston and starting again out West. As we enter The Great Unknown, the lyrics deepen and the tempo changes the vocal heights reflecting the internal pain and grieving. The song gathers in the epic power of rock but never descends into a power ballad. It is the work of a singer/songwriter using the presence of rock with a cascading fury and philosophical look at coming to terms with losing some on you love. This powerful singer/songwriter musical journey calms and fades on a lighter note. Where will he take us next?
The titles are thought-provoking reflecting thoughts and confusion after a monumental loss. As Blind Faith is often what you need to move on. Using the sonic shaping of the blues, a resonator and the time honoured open letter to his father unfolds on a stripped back number. In fact, the simplicity of the music makes the lyrics stronger making Myles vocals pierce through the speaker.
Every track on the album is shaped by the lyrics, pain, and hope plus how the words are shaped and molded by the immense tonal range and textures of Kennedy’s vocals. On Turning Stones, the sound is low key, less urgent taking time to consider on a country tonal prayer looking for redemption and healing of wounds as we are halfway through the emotional journey we are exploring on Year of The Tiger.
Mother, we are now looking at grief from a different perspective. The music is urgent fast and Myles tries to capture the dual pulls on his Mother her own grieving and keeping it together for Myles and his brother. With the curling country fuelled guitar opening. We here that missing someone never stops on Nothing But A Name. We are once again eavesdropping on a personal conversation between the singer and his father.
Then gentler at times with a feel of a rocked up lullaby is Love Can Only Heal. The guitar is sharper on this track and there is an urgency as the song explores the power of love and being in another place, different time, reflective and healing. Capturing the cathartic power that Kennedy expresses throughout this exploration of personal grief.
Closing out a deeply personal but never maudlin album with One Fine Day. We now are on a road moving on and letting go the path of the album is clinging to, a new crossroads has been reached. The whole album has a deep intensity, an intimacy that has been achieved by recording straight to tape. Like life and death, there are imperfections giving the album humanity. These have been embraced in an edgy album where Myles Kennedy bares his soul and inner feelings directly to his audience.
Announcing Year of the Tiger Sings Myles Kennedy Solo We (the listener) are taken on a deeply personal journey by singer/songwriter Miles Kenedy. full of emotions, sadness and life never maudlin sung in suiting the lower register the vocals are delivered in.
TENdoodle paws out of TEN …
Myles Kennedy – Year of The Tiger – Napalm Records
- Year of the Tiger
- The Great Beyond
- Blind Faith
- Devil On The Wall
- Ghost Of Shangri La
- Turning Stones
- Haunted By Design
- Nothing But A Name
- Love Can Only Heal
- One Fine Day