Never a musician to waste any precious time, ALTER BRIDGE and SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS vocalist Myles Kennedy used the recent pandemic downtime to finalize his sophomore solo album. The finished result is the exciting new offering, "The Ides Of March", which incorporates Myles's love of rock, blues and country and is slated for release on May 14 via Napalm Records.
During his time at home due to all touring being canceled, Myles created the framework for the song ideas that would make up "The Ides Of March". He then called up his cohorts from his "Year Of The Tiger" debut — longtime friend and drummer Zia Uddin and bassist/manager Tim Tournier — and the three musicians drove to Florida to record the album with longtime producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette.
From the slide guitar riffs of the album opener "Get Along" to the pensive blues style of closer "Worried Mind", it is clear that Myles has crafted a formidable follow up to his debut solo album. While "Year Of The Tiger" was more of an acoustic exploration through Myles's mind, "The Ides Of March" finds him strapping on his electric guitar and pushing himself as a guitarist/songwriter. Tracks like "A Thousand Words", "Wake Me When It's Over" and "Moonshot" showcase the diverse musical arrangements that have garnered Myles fans globally across all of his projects. The epic "The Ides Of March" clocks in at over seven minutes, and Myles, Tim and Zia showcase their musical chops on the track.
The first single, "In Stride", opens with Myles showcasing his slide playing before delivering a lyrical message to "take it all in stride." The video for "In Stride" marks a return by Stefano Bertelli (who created the recent "Native Son" video for ALTER BRIDGE) and shows an animated Myles as he takes the end of the world in stride.
"Chill out. That pretty much sums it up," explains Myles about the single. "The lyric paints a picture of a survivalist preparing for an impending zombie apocalypse. It was inspired by the first wave of lockdowns as everyone was buying vast amounts of toilet paper and supplies. I started to ask myself if it might be wise to try and gain some perspective and not overreact… keep calm and carry on."
"The Ides Of March" track listing:
01. Get Along
02. A Thousand Words
03. In Stride
04. The Ides Of March
05. Wake Me When It's Over
06. Love Rain Down
07. Tell It Like It Is
09. Wanderlust Begins
10. Sifting Through The Fire
11. Worried Mind
In November, Myles told Kylie Olsson about how "The Ides Of March" compares to "Year Of The Tiger": "It dawned on me last night as I was listening [to the new album], I was, like, 'You basically made a rock record.' [Laughs] I don't know if I went into it with that intention initially. And I feel like it definitely is still a continuation of the overall style that was established for the solo project on 'Year Of The Tiger'. There's a fair amount of acoustic instrumentation; there's a lot of lap steel [guitar]. I love the lap steel; I just love the way you can make it weep — it's got a very vocal quality. But then I realized there's just a lot of guitar and a lot more solos — you know, guitar geek stuff that I enjoy."
A month earlier, Kennedy told Terrie Carr of the Morristown, New Jersey radio station 105.5 WDHA that it was a joy to reconnect with Uddin, Tournier and Baskette for the making of the new LP.
"Oh, yeah, it was great," he said. "It was great, because we actually drove [to the studio in Florida]. So Zia, my drummer, who, we've played together for the last 30 years, off and on, since we were in high school. He's, in my opinion, one of the greatest rock and roll drummers alive; he's so good, it's mind-boggling. So we started driving. We left Spokane, with the gear in tow. And then we met Tim about halfway. I think we met somewhere in Tennessee, maybe. Then we after driving to Orlando, we all quarantined. Zia did his drums and then he went home, and then Tim finished up. He hung around for a little while. And then I was there for, I think, seven weeks with Elvis."
He continued: "It's a fun environment. We all love each other dearly. I'm serious when I say this: we're a bunch of middle-aged children. I mean, it's as if we've taken a time machine and we're in the seventh grade. And the humor is ridiculously silly. I don't even know how to articulate how ridiculous it gets when you put all of us in a studio together. [Laughs]"
Myles's tour in support of "Year Of The Tiger" featured music from the album as well as selections from Myles's work with ALTER BRIDGE, THE MAYFIELD FOUR and SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS.
Photo credit: Chuck Brueckmann