YEAR OF THE TIGER TRACKLISTING
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
Reviewed by Casper of Rohan
The planets are in alignment, the masses are ready and the time is just right for Myles Kennedy to release his debut solo album. If that sentence smacks a little facetious, cast that thought to the four winds, because adoring fans the world over have been long suffering in anticipation of this collection. I think even Slash and Mark Tremonti were even getting a little antsy. But that is where any flippant remarks finish, because this is a serious album, tackling serious matters and is, quite frankly, a masterpiece. With the original debut collection shelved for now, one listen and you will understand why Myles has assembled this perfect collection for release in March 2018.
The title track has been with Myles for long time and with its evident atmosphere of distinct foreboding, perhaps is representative of the dark cloud that has followed our musical master throughout his existence. The subject of his father passing away when Myles was only four years of age remains the material throughout this collection. The Year Of The Tiger 1974, a religious conviction more common of the time and particular to the Christian Science, a lack of medical intervention all left a dad shaped absence in Myles’ life, the effects of which can only be presumed by the outsider. Nevertheless, we are the sum of our experiences and who could possibly ask for a more wonderful person than Myles Kennedy. We sincerely hope that, if in fact any was required, this album has led to a healing for the younger Myles and his sense of loss couple with those days of what could have been.
But 2018 brings the opportunity for Myles to finally ‘turn on the fawcett’ (see interview) and release an album so personal, so musically astonishing and so emotive that the debut aspect seems to meld into the landscape. But considering the achievements of Myles Kennedy his entire career, the vast masses and lives he has impacted with his music, anything less than a solo debut pièce de résistance would not truly represent his capability and mastery of his crafts.
With the penning of this collection commencing in earnest about 18 months prior, one can only imagine the lifetime of emotions, occurrences and experiences that must have wrestled their way finally to the fore with ill-deserved entitlement. The Year Of The Tiger sets the scene to perfection in concept introduction, but The Great Beyond musically paints an expansive, mystical and wonderous dreamscape before the listener. You are immediately catapulted into the one on one, emotional journey guided by Myles himself. The organic nature of this astonishing album becomes truly overwhelming and whether it be the analogue recording, the lyrical finesse or the vocal allure, Myles establishes with you an undeniable personal connection.
Myles incorporates the Nashville Resonator into Blind Faith and an astonishing track is the result. Incorporated a southern twang and blended with that unmistakably unique Americana, one is truly challenged by the concepts within. The loss of life balanced with religious conviction on a personal level, is applied is such a way that one wishes world leaders would consider the concepts en masse. And yet again, musically astonishing. My eyes welling in confused bewilderment in how the young Myles managed to emerge such a well adjusted and wonderful person, when his existence has surely been a wrestling match between the two less favorable polar extremes of anger and sorrow. Now the key to an additional dimension of appreciation is to set aside those considerations and listen to this track from a purely musical perspective. Our wondrous wailing wizard of heavy rock showcases his voice from a very different and refined perspective. Again, personal and organic.
Devil On The Wall speaks to me in more ways than I care to admit but bears the same hallmark of this incredible collection, namely another journey within the Myles makeup, but purveyed in a different way to the former. The diversity between each track, coupled with the production perfection is reason enough to make this album an absolute must for every collection. The limited edition box set available through Napalm Records will not last long at only 1000 promised and the signed vinyl from Myles has already sold out. His writing hand may require further prompting methinks because this record will be treasured by many the world over.
Ghost Of Shangri La and Turning Stones continue our journey in the same splendid vein as previously described while Haunted By Design poses more than a few peculiarities to ponder of any trusted great architect, all accompanied by the southern twang, but venturing slightly into bluegrass territory just north thereof.
Mother tells a story best explained by Myles himself, but I must respectfully reflect aloud, and even choose to believe that Myles’ mom chose her own children over Christian Science. Perhaps I misconstrue the lyrical content, but I choose to honour his mum and the difficult choices that surely befell her. A truly beautify and powerful ode at very least. Nothing But A Name requires no additional comments, save a reflection on the magnificent musical blend of rock and southern classic Americana. Simply superb and monumentally moving. If you can keep your eyes dry throughout Love Can Only Heal, perhaps Myles has left the most emotional of contact especially for those who understand through common connection. The words accompanied by perfect music setting the scene and accentuating the emotions will draw the air from your chest and choke you in tearful camaraderie. So truly unbelievable that words cannot adequately express what you are to experience, right down to the last note.
Songbird steps up the pace and again blends a variety of guitar styles launching us in an uplifting landscape of hope and gratitude to all Myles creates. I feel equally as moved by his voice, lyrics and the accompanying melodies as first listening to My Champion. Stunning.
One Fine Day leads us out of the anguish and frustration with a positive path forward. A lyrical path of hope, somehow a musical celebration of life to accompany and most remarkably, Myles musically ushers us along with a melodic sense of urgency to embrace the good, the great and the wonderful, all only a heartbeat away.
Now play the title track again for a reminder of the journey you have just experienced.
This album is a fittingly representative of Myles Kennedy’s musical genius. Anything short of astonishing would not be a true reflection of his astounding capability as a musician, modern day poet and melodic medium for the spectrum of human emotion. You will enjoy the most wondrous guitar creations accompanied by powerful lyrical offerings, all blessed with the unique voice of Myles. You will encounter rock, Motown, rockabilly, southern rock, bluegrass, blues, country and elements of heavy rock, occasionally all blended seamlessly and superbly in one song. All this musical magnificence, married with the lyrics and story of Myles erupt in an amazing milestone (Mylestone?) in contemporary music history, and that still fails to adequately describe this undeniable masterwork. Thank you Myles.
Fans that pre-order the download of “Year Of The Tiger” through a digital retailer will receive an instant download of the song as well as the first single.